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.

  • 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: http://​www​.type​na​tion​.com/​w​i​d​m​e​r​.​jpg

  • 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 😀