Name, first nameEduardo Garcia Renn├│ PereiraYear of birth1985UniversityECALField of Interest / research fieldArt Direction in Typography / in Photography Title of projectRetracing the grid: The Theo Ballmer archive in contextAbstractDesign history is complex and fluid, with many factors and characters affecting its styles and attitude changes, nonetheless is very tempting to get attached to milestones, turning points, as events that changed a whole zeitgeist, because that creates a comprehensive narrative we can grasp.

To analyze the work of a specific character in this history and to try to find connections within the surrounding context during a specific time span, appears to be an interesting way to see what affects the whole visual landscape of a specific generation, and also a way, to expand the knowledge beyond the narrowed down narratives.

The character in question here is Theo Ballmer, often present in design history, praised for his very precise constructive, also political posters and the context of this character is the graphic design made between the years of 1920 to 1940s, his most prolific time as designer and teacher.

The innovative aspect of his geometric lettering and illustrations, all in a very cohesive whole, set him apart as one of the precursors of the Swiss style.

He was part of an elite of Swiss designers that attended the ZHDK during Ernst Keller teaching period, and also later attended the Bauhaus in Dessau during its most politically turbulent time.

In the later years of his career his works seemed to lean more towards photography and teaching, both activities in which he also cared a strong methodical, technical and analytical approach.

My aim here is to investigate how does his education, the cultural landscape and technology of the time shaped his career and personal style and how this style situates him in the broader context of Swiss graphic design.
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Retracing the grid: The Theo Ballmer archive in context