Swiss graphic design
When you look at Max Huber's work you immediately notice the dynamic use of color and composition. Max Huber was born in Baar (Switzerland) in 1919. He graduates from Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich under Hans Williman. In his formative years he meets Werner Bischof, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Carlo Vivarelli and Hans Falk. His career begins in 1935 in Zurich where he works for an advertising agency and later with Emil Schultness at Conzett & Huber. He meets Max Bill and Hans Neuburg.
With the beginning of the World War II – in order to avoid being drafted in the Swiss army – he moves to Milan and joins Studio Boggeri. Unfortunately Italy enters the war in 1941 too and Huber is forced back to Switzerland where he begins a collaboration with Werner Bischof and Emil Schultness for the influential art magazine Du. He joins the Allianz group and, in 1942, he exhibits his abstract work at Kunsthaus Zurich with Max Bill, Leo Leuppi, Richard Lohse and Camille Graeser.
At the end of the war he is back in Milan. The Italian publisher Einaudi appoints him as creative director for his publishing house. This job puts him in contact with the post-war Italian intelligentsia: Cesare Pavese, Natalia Ginzburg, Elio Vittorini, Franco Fortini, Ettore Sottsass, Achille Castiglioni and Albe Steiner. The following years are marked by some of his most iconic and influential designs. With Albe Steiner he works for the VIII Triennale di Milano. A keen jazz fan himself, he designs a series of stunning record covers, music magazines and the set stage for a jazz festival. He meets Louis Armstrong.
In 1948 he designed the seminal poster for the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza Gran Prix and two years later the corporate identity for the supermarket chain La Rinascente. In collaboration with Achille Castiglioni he designs large-scale installations for RAI, Eni and Montecatini. In 1954 he is being awarded with the prestigious Compasso d’oro and in 1958 he travels to the US as a speaker to the First International Seminar on Typography.
In 1965 the Nippon Design Committee organized an exhibition of his work at Matsuya Design Gallery in Tokyo. This trip is the beginning of the designer close tie with Japan that will culminate with marrying the artist and illustrator Aoi Kono. In his later years he alternates commercial commissions, personal visual experimentation with teaching graphic design at Scuola Umanitaria in Milan, at Scuola Politecnica di Design also in Milan and finally at CSIA (Centro Scolastico Industrie Artistiche) in Lugano. He died in Sagno, a small village on the Swiss-Italian border, in 1992.
Max Huber created brilliant and innovative designs that still are very attractive in this day and age. All the right ingredients are there, clear & rational design aesthetics plus the reliance on a typographic grid system that is so typical in Swiss graphic design.