The Swiss Movement, also known as the International Typographic Style was a revolution that brought a wave of change during the 1950’s. Its origins are traced from Russia and the Netherlands in the 1920’s, however, the movement was made famous by various Swiss designers during the 50’s (Terror. D, 2009). It had a profound impact on various design-related fields, such as graphic design, typography, and architecture. The modernist movement was known for its emphasis on cleanliness and readability (Meggs. P. B, 2014).

Designs created with International Typographic Style typically use a mathematical grid for a harmonious and an accurately structured set up. Typefaces following the movement are all sans-serif, which was chosen. Type was designed in a strict mathematical fashion to focus on detail and precision (Meggs. P. B, 2014).

The use of sans-serif typefaces was one of the strongest characteristics within the movement at the time. Many designers believed they stressed simplicity and clarity; two very important aspects of design during the 1950’s. Furthermore, the use of hierarchy and different sizing of type displayed important information first, and secondary information afterwards. This became another trend within the Swiss movement that is still regularly followed today (Terror. D, 2009).


(Ballmer3, 2009)


The Swiss Movement slowly spread throughout the world throughout the late 1950’s to 60’s, as many international designers began to adopt the new approach to typography. To this day, its designs, as well as many of the typefaces born from the Movement (ie. Helvetica), are widely used in a variety of mediums. The sans-serif trend has given many typefaces a professional and modern makeover; a notable and historic change to the way type was done from the 50’s and onwards.


Ballmer3 [Digital image]. (2009, July 17). Retrieved November 24, 2016, from


Meggs, P. B. (2014, May 3). International Typographic Style. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from

Terror, D. (2009, July 17). Lessons From Swiss Style Graphic Design – Smashing Magazine. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from