The Brilliant Work of Jean Widmer


I have no clue how I’ve never heard of Jean Widmer. I’m disappointed in myself but I’m also giddy from the discovery! This morning I came across this brief article over at Grain Edit that includes some of Widmer’s work. I was instantly blown away and had to know more about this talented designer. I spent most of the morning researching Widmer and his work. Here’s what I’ve found.

Jean Widmer is a Swiss graphic designer who is responsible from introducing Swiss modernism into French graphic design and who eventually became a leader of the graphic design community in France for more than 40 years. Up until recently Widmer ran an agency in France called Visuel Design.

Unfortunately, much of his work is very difficult to find, online or in print. Pictured above are posters he designed for the Centre de Creation Industrielle which are just breathtaking. A few years back there was an massive exhibition of Widmer’s work at the Centre Pompidou in France. You can see some photos of the event here, here and here.

There was also an exhibit at the Herb Lubalin Study Centre of Design and Typography at Cooper Union in New York that was held from Autumn 2002 to 2003. The exhibition, “Jean Widmer, a devotion to modernism, itinerary of a designer from Zurich to Paris” featured a large collection of Widmer’s work and was accompanied by a 96 page catalogue. Gotta see if I can get my hands on that one. Anyway, here is a small gallery of the Cooper Union exhibit.

And finally, here is an interview with Widmer conducted by Graphis. Apparently Josef Müller-Brockmann was a big influence on him. Nice!        

9 Comments on "The Brilliant Work of Jean Widmer"

  • michael says

    Great post… Baseline magazine had a great article in issue 45 about Jean Widmer, written by Philippe Apeloig.

  • Antonio says
  • michael says

    yeah thats it… i guess i could’ve posted the link! i’d scan it, but my scanner isnt large enough.

  • Lee says

    Wow! Thanks for this. I’d never heard of him either.

    Finally, a brilliant use of florescent inks. Nice!

  • Adriano says

    I saw that expo on Centre Pompidou in France (December 04 I think). Check a 1:1 photo here:

  • Leave it to Philippe Apeloig. He knows all that is cool and worth looking at in France when it comes to Graphic Design. He worked for April Greiman in Los Angeles before going back to his native France and becoming the superstar that he is today. When i worked at April’s studio a few years later I always heard this Apeloig name being referenced, then met the guy and understood why. I know we are speaking of Jean Widmer, just a slight off topic excursion.

  • please if anyone finds anything else on Jean Widmer let everyone here know! I wish I could get ahold of some of his prints. brilliant briliant

  • Antonio says

    Adriano, that photo is great! Do you have anymore?

  • Adriano says

    Antonio, that’s the best shot I have, the others are plain blurred failed attempts 😀