Exploring Brockmann’s graphic design (Swiss School).

Here, I am playing with the Swiss School methods and exploring the mathematical relationships predominant in this method. The subject is injected with a play on numbers (important in Swiss methodology) with the image of Angela Merkel and the German word for No. Nine also has a revolutionary connection with the Beatles White Album track Revolution 9 which was influenced by Fluxism.

Degree of blue. Using grid structure to create, in this case, a balanced visual question related to the meaning of the content. Which shade of blue is the prime minister David Cameron? Speaking without textual intervention.


I drafted this post after a blog posting by Kevin Hartley and the introduction to the work of contemporary illustrator Cristiana Couceiro. I thought creating an image of Angela Merkel using Brockmann's techniques would lead me to a fascinating juxtaposition between Europe now and the graphical ideas Brockmann was exploring during a Cold War Europe. There is a sense this style imposed a visual mathematical order during a time of global chaos and there are parallels here in 2012 with that approach too. I also thought it would be interesting to develop an example where a grid structure and a very basic colour scheme might ask a question! without using text, that would be immediately readable by the viewer. I chose David Cameron to continue the European idea. I was influenced by some of Couceiro's political work for American magazines when creating these.

Notes about Brockmann. He is considered one of the main exponents of the Swiss School of International Style. He was working during a period of great upheaval in Europe, through the 2nd world war and also the cold war. It was a period of enormous change and a time of destruction, chaos and brutality. Politics, art and intellectual thought had to enter a prolonged period of reconstruction, rebuilding and rethinking. The world had changed radically and centuries of tradition were being reevaluated almost as a form of catharsis to escape the horrors of systems that had seemingly led to such brutality and turmoil.

Looking at his work he appears to be have been influenced by Soviet Constructvism and the non objective paintings of Kasimir Malevich as well as the Bauhaus school and the Dutch De Stijl style.

A recognised work of his for a musical event at the Zurich Town Hall is graphic, rather than illustrative. It created a new way of exploring the subject matter inventing a style of visual language, in this case as it related to music that was unique for the time. These posters heavily influenced Jazz art and design and the posters and album covers that would appear later in America.




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