Evolution of Design: From Bauhaus to Swiss Style and Typographic Simplicity

In the world of graphic design, there are a few movements that have not only stood the test of time, but also forever changed the way we look at design and visual communication. Three of these influential design movements, Bauhaus, Swiss Style and the International Typographic Style, laid the foundation for what we consider modern and effective design today. Let’s get a deeper understanding of each of these movements, including their mottoes and key design principles.

1. Bauhaus: “Form follows function” 
In 1919, the Bauhaus was founded in Germany by Walter Gropius, and it marked the beginning of a revolution in the design world. The motto “Form follows function” perfectly sums up what this movement stood for. Bauhaus sought the perfect symbiosis of art, craft and technology to create functional and aesthetically pleasing designs.

Key design principles of Bauhaus:

  • Minimalism: Superfluous ornamentation was avoided, and the focus was on simplicity and functionality.
  • Geometry: Clean lines and precise angles dominated Bauhaus designs.
  • Grid systems: The use of grids for layout and typography was a hallmark of Bauhaus design.
  • Primary Colors: A limited color palette, consisting mostly of primary colors (red, blue, yellow), was popular.
  • Typography: Bauhaus produced innovative typography with sans serif fonts and experimental alignment techniques.


2. Swiss Style (Swiss Design): ‘Content is King’

Originating in Switzerland in the mid-20th century, Swiss Style, also known as the International Typographic Style, was influenced by Bauhaus, but emphasized clarity, legibility and objectivity in design. This movement was often applied to posters, printed matter and corporate identity.

Key design principles of Swiss Style:

  • Typography: Swiss Style placed a strong emphasis on typography, often using sans serif fonts such as Helvetica.
  • Grid systems: Precise grids were used for layout, resulting in a structured and organized look.
  • Asymmetrical Layout: Asymmetry was preferred over symmetry for dynamic compositions.
  • Clear Hierarchy: Information was organized with a clear hierarchy so that important elements stood out.
  • Use of Photography: High-quality photography was often included as an integral part of the design.
the evolution of design
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3. International Typographic Style: “Clarity and simplicity”

The International Typographic Style, a subset of the Swiss Style, emphasized the use of typography as the most important design element, with a strong emphasis on clarity, simplicity and legibility. This style had a major influence on corporate identity design and information graphics.

Key design principles of the International Typographic Style:

  • Sans serif Typography: Clean, easy-to-read sans serif fonts were the norm.
  • Grid-based Layout: A strict grid system was used to organize content and contribute to clarity and order.
  • Modular Design: Design elements were often modular and could be used consistently in different applications.
  • Minimalist Images: Minimalist and symbolic images were often used instead of elaborate illustrations.
  • Use of White Space: The generous use of white space contributed to clarity and balance in layouts.
  • Objective Photography: Photography was used objectively, without excessive manipulation or distortion.


These three design movements have not only shaped the visual language of modern communication, but they also continue to inspire designers around the world. They remind us that design should not only be beautiful, but above all effective and functional. Bauhaus, Swiss Style and the International Typographic Style remain a source of admiration and admiration in the world of graphic design, and their principles remain invaluable to the creative community.

the evolution of design
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