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Karl Gerstner

© FOC / Melanie Hofmann

© FOC / Melanie Hofmann

Karl Gerstner

Graphic designer, advertiser and typographer, Basel

Karl Gerstner is a graphic designer and a significant Swiss exponent of typography. In the 1960s, he studied at the Gewerbeschule Basel under Emil Ruder. His role as co-founder of the advertising agency GGK (Gerstner, Gredinger and Kutter) has resulted in his work being seen around the world. The GGK has long been one of Switzerland's best-known advertising agencies. Gerstner's pioneering work – in particular, his designs for Geigy, based in Basel - makes him one of the most important exponents of modern commercial graphic design in Switzerland. Gerstner's best-known work includes his book ′Programme Entwerfen′, published in 1963 – containing four essays, in which he explains the basic principles of his design method. Instead of setting out step-by-step formulas, the book provides a universal system for developing individual solutions, anticipating technological developments at the very beginning of the computer age. His premature legacy has been housed in the Graphics collection at the Swiss National Library since 2006. The Swiss Confederation is honouring Karl Gerstner for his pioneering role in Swiss graphic design – a phenomenon whose influence has extended far beyond Switzerland.