Geigy's Stellar Graphic Design

Geigy's Stellar Graphic Design

By Aaron Britt
I alluded to it in an earlier post, but one of the highlights of my first day in Zurich was a tour through the exhibit Good Design, Good Business- Swiss Graphic Design and Advertising by Geigy, 1940-1970 running through May 24th at the Design Museum Zurich. Curator Andres Janser gave a highly informative tour and I managed to get a hold of a bunch of images of the work from the show.

Geigy was a massive Swiss chemical company based in Basel in the middle of the century; it's since gone through a couple corporate changes and exists today as Novartis. But during the 40s, 50s and 60s part of what set Geigy apart from its competition was its use of graphic design, and designers such as Max Schmid, Karl Gerstner, Gottfried Honegger and Nelly Rudin to properly brand the company. Geigy produced all manner of medicines, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and quickly lit upon the idea of a graphic identity to set their products apart from the dozens of others doctors and consumers had to choose from.

Neocid was another pesticide Geigy sold. Karl Gerstner's poster is from 1953 and tells customers that Neocid is "A gate for house pests!"


Andres Janser curated the Good Design, Good Business show at the Design Museum Zurich.

In addition to the top drawer graphic design being shown, I was also impressed with the display at the museum, particularly the geometric, almost glacial cases by Alexandra Gübeli Janser told me that for each show they choose a new exhibition designer and Gübeli was a natural choice as she'd spent years with the museum some time back.


The stark white cases of Alexandra Gübeli's exhibition design mimicked the work's clean geometry.

Be sure to check out this slideshow of Geigy's work, and if you can get your hands on it, Lars Müller Publishers have done a really excellent catalog of the show called Corporate Diversity designed by Zurich-based graphic designers Norm.


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