What did you learn about the enduring impact of Swiss design on UK designers?
Swiss graphic design continues to influence the English scene thanks to the new generation of students who graduate from Swiss schools such as HEAD in Geneva, ECAL in Lausanne or zhdk in Zürich. As discussed during one of the interviews, many of GTF’s collaborators and interns come from Zurich or Lausanne universities.
At the totally opposite end of the spectrum, you have also studios who have decided to stay away from the grid-heavy, Swiss, minimalistic approach. Or other studios more connected to the local culture who look to other styles, such as the beautiful Arts and Craft heritage, or just taking inspiration from the daily exquisite creativity of vernacular typography you stumble across into the streets of Brick Lane or other amazing neighbourhoods..
Has there been any influence in the other direction, with British design influencing Swiss designers?
For sure. When we think about graphic design practice from the 1980s, the influence of the english Punk movement was strong. Subculture needed a visual voice, and many British designers were working for the music industry creating new sleeve designs that circulated all around the globe. For example the work of Neville Brody was a huge influence in our country, typically during the club scene in Zürich.
Cornel Windlin, who spent few years in London, created a striking visual identity for the Schauspielhaus with a kind of Swiss but slightly off-grid and punchy aesthetic; that was is a brilliant example brought along by one of the participants of the project.
If we talk about colours I can feel the influences of studios such Peter Saville or GTF recent Swiss graphic design. It’s clear that, when travel becomes easier, the cross-contamination of ideas and influences is increased.
Are there any plans to publish your research?
Yes. We recorded more than fifteen hours of interviews and we would like to supplement them with more theoretical contributions. In the meantime, we discovered another project about Swiss design practice abroad, which has links to our project. I can see the one-week project continuing as a publication and maybe as an exhibition. I have approached various museum directors in my area to discuss a possible show, hopefully in Autumn 2018.