• Emil Ruder


  • Background
    Emil Ruder was an influential and critical part of the Swiss International Movement of the 1950s. He aided in spreading the ideologies of the movement through his role as an educator, author, designer, and in his creation of a school of design in New York.
    Emil Ruder was born in Zürich, Switzerland, in 1914. At the young age of 15, Ruder studied typesetting and at the same time during his education, the influence of the Bauhaus became a signigicant impact on Ruder design philosophy. He then enhanced his design education and studied at the School of Applied Arts in Zürich from 1941-1942.

  • After his schooling, he accepted a position as a teacher at the Allgemeinen Gewerbeschule in Basel and remained a teacher of typography until he became the Director of Kunstgewerblichen Abteilung (Applied Arts Department) in 1965. He worked as an educator and author for the majority of his life, before he passed away in 1970 at the relatively young age of 56.
    Later Work
    Ruder wrote many articles that expressed his views on design, that were published in Typographische Monatsblätter, a Swiss typography design magazine. A collection of four of these articles, titled Fundamentals, were divided into four distinctive sections: the plane, the line, the word, and rhythm.

  • These areas of design were the foundation for the standards of design. Additionally, he co-founded the International Center for the Typographic Arts in New York which ran from 1965 until 1970, when it permanently shut its doors. As an educator, Ruder was experienced in sharing his thoughts on design, which ultimately led to him writing the book, Typographie, A Manual for Design. This book outlined all of his foundational beliefs on design and focused on the new modernist approach to typography. He encouraged his students to examine the mathematical portion of the design world and his work examined the fundamentals of design and precision.

“To design is to plan, to order, to relate, and to control. In short, it opposes all means of disorder and accident.” - Emil Ruder

  • Berlin, 1963

  • Die Zeitung, 1958

  • Poster designed by Emil Ruder, 1964

  • Joan Miró, 1956

  • Seit langem bewährt, 1970

  • Influences
    Ruder was one of the great minds that the Swiss International Style and his transition away from the traditional typography and design style enhanced the progression of this movement. As one of two major influences of the International Style who dedicated most of his life to education, he certainly impacted the next generation of designers. His emphasis on working with the grid and precision has carried on for graphic designers to this day, even for web designers as technology grows. His impact, collectively with his contemporaries, truly redefined the world of graphic design.

Typographie, 2001

  • Featured Designers

  • Continue your exlporation of the famous designers who help shaped the movement that made the Swiss Style so effective in graphic design that is still popular till this day.

  • Max Miedinger

  • Jan Tschichold

  • Max Bill

  • Josef Muller-Brockmann

  • Armin Hofmann

  • Emil Ruder