17 January 2015

News
Walter Haettenschweiler.
Obituary

The libraries of long established graphic designers often contain a particular set of volumes, and if they are good at their craft, these four books are often well-thumbed. These are none other than the Lettera volumes, put together by Armin Haab, Alex Stocker and the graphic designer Walter Haettenschweiler, between 1954 and 1972. 



 

Haettenschweiler was born on 3 January 1933 in Zug, and died on 7 October. He was a designer whose work belonged to the widely recognised yet essentially anonymous origins of Modernism. Haettenschweiler studied under Ernst Keller in Zurich, and at the age of only 21 he designed the font that bore his name – a stroke of genius. This sans serif typeface would influence the Zeitgeist twice – firstly as the font chosen by Willy Fleckhaus for the title of Twen magazine, and later as a system font for Microsoft. In 2012 Rudolf Barmettler featured this and other fonts created by Haettenschweiler in the Typografische Monatsblätter, while other projects by the designer such as company logos and postage stamp designs were the focus of an exhibition at the Kunsthaus in Zug in June/July 2006. Haettenschweiler was active mainly in his hometown, where he was born, with the result that his work is little known even in graphic design circles, and that the news of his death has only just reached the press.

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