Siegfried Odermatt

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Siegfried Odermatt

The self-taught Swiss designer, Siegfried Odermatt, was one of the first to experiment beyond the cold and strict structure of the grid. He organized space and exacted clarity by applying International Typography’s principles with his first passion of photography in new and profound ways. Strategically lit black & white photographic images are cropped, scaled, and arranged with careful attention to shape and texture such that they appear to immerge from the page. A good example is this mid-1960s advertisement for the pharmaceutical company Apotheke Sammet in Zürich.

International Typographical style was a Swiss movement in graphical design recognizable primarily by its strict adherence to a structural grid layout, mathematically constructed san serif fonts, flush left text, and factual representation of content. The main principle is organized space that is clearly legible.

Siegfried Odermatt remains consistent with International Typography’s style of flush left text with san serif fonts, Odermatt is best known for his clear dramatic use of color and type. Much of his work is one-color. He believed that a single color could “achieve the visual impact of a full color concept through strength of concept and orchestration of visual form, space, shape, and tone” (Megg’s 384). His fresh approach to organization and division of space demonstrated infinite possibilities.

Ten years after opening his own design studio in 1950 Odermatt met Rosemary Tissi, who became his design partner in 1968. The studio designed effective communications for its corporate clientele by developing trademarks, advertising, and packaging. Odermatt and Tissi designed independently yet critiqued and influenced the other. A playful design quality emerged from thier partnership introducing surprising elements of chance to the vocabulary of graphic design. Both are considered pioneers in typographic and abstract posters.
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