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Magazine ad, Bech Electronic Centre, 1959–61
Karl Gerstner
Magazine ad, Bech Electronic Centre
Karl Gerstner,

Magazine ad, Bech Electronic Centre,
1959–61

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Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • Bech Electronic Centre Karl Gerstner Magazine ad
  • Bech Electronic Centre Karl Gerstner Magazine ad
  • Bech Electronic Centre Karl Gerstner Magazine ad
  • Bech Electronic Centre Karl Gerstner Magazine ad
  • Bech Electronic Centre Karl Gerstner Magazine ad
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Listen to the text
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The Basel agency Gerstner + Kutter, which enjoyed international success in the 1960s under the name Gerstner, Gredinger + Kutter GGK, is regarded as having been stylistically influential especially during its early phase. The graphic designer Karl Gerstner (1930–2017) found in Markus Kutter (1925–2005) the ideal copywriter, and was in turn for him the ideal graphic artist. They produced intelligent advertising in atypical ways, increasing the power of the message through the integral play of words and form. This advertisement for the Bech Electronic Centre from 1959–60 is a prime example.

Although the advertising profession was frowned upon in creative circles, the graphic designer Karl Gerstner and the historian Markus Kutter founded their own agency, Agentur für Werbung, Grafik, Publizität, Gerstner + Kutter, in Basel in 1959. Both of them had previously worked at the chemical company J.R. Geigy AG—Gerstner as graphic artist, Kutter as chief press officer—and together had published two seminal books: the synthetic novel Schiff nach Europa (Ship to Europe, 1957) and the jubilee anniversary double volume Geigy 1758 bis 1939 (Geigy 1758 to 1939) and Geigy heute (Geigy Today) for the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Geigy company (1958). In both works, idea, text, and design are integrated together as one entity. This principle, which Gerstner called in 1959 “integral typography” and expanded into an interdisciplinary method in his cult book Programme Entwerfen (Designing Programmes, 1964), also played an important role in the conception of visual identities and advertising campaigns. One example is the design of the visual identity for the Bech Electronic Centre in Zurich starting in 1959. Gerstner recognized that the company name lent itself to word games and elevated this insight into a conceptual guideline. By varying the combinations of words on the printed materials and advertisements, he made them more interesting. The variants also suggested the creation of an electronic series. In a half-page newspaper advertisement, he incorporated Kutter’s exuberant advertising copy so it appeared in columns as in a registry, listed beneath bold capital letters. This paved the way for the play on words with the company logo. (Barbara Junod)

Werbeinserat, Bech Electronic Centre, 1959–1961
Gestaltung: Gerstner + Kutter, Basel, CH / Karl Gerstner
Text: Gerstner + Kutter, Basel, CH / Markus Kutter
Auftrag: Bech Elechtronic Center, Zürich, CH
Material/Technik: Papier, Offsetdruck
27.7 x 34.1 cm
Donation: Gerstner, Gredinger + Kutter, Werbeagentur AG, Basel, CH
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK
Literatureo

Richard Hollis, Schweizer Grafik. Die Entwicklung eines internationalen Stils. 1920–1965, Basel/Boston/Berlin, 2006, S. 180–183, 228–233.

Manfred Kröplien (Hg.), Karl Gerstner. Rückblick auf 5 x 10 Jahre Graphik Design etc., Ostfildern-Ruit 2001, insbesondere S. 12–15, 50–51, 56–57.

Karl Gerstner, Programme entwerfen, Teufen 1964, insbesondere S. 57–76.

Hans Neuburg, «Neuzeitliche Werbegrafik als Einheit von Idee, Text und Form», in: Neue Grafik//New Graphic Design/Graphisme actuel 6 (1960), S. 18–34.

Image creditso

Werbeinserat, Bech Electronic Centre, 1959–1961, Gestaltung: Gerstner + Kutter, Basel, CH / Karl Gerstner, Donation: Gerstner, Gredinger + Kutter, Werbeagentur AG, Basel, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Visitenkarte, Rudolf F. Bech – Bech Electronic Centre, 1959 61, Gestaltung: Gerstner + Kutter, Basel, CH / Karl Gerstner, Donation: Gerstner, Gredinger + Kutter, Werbeagentur AG, Basel, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Entwurf für Rechnungsformular, Bech Electronic Centre, 1959 61, Gestaltung: Gerstner + Kutter, Basel, CH / Karl Gerstner, Donation: Gerstner, Gredinger + Kutter, Werbeagentur AG, Basel, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Plakat, Bech Electronic Centre, 1959, Schweiz, Gestaltung: Gerstner + Kutter, Basel, CH / Karl Gerstner
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Neujahrskarte, Bech Electronic Centre, 1959 61, Gestaltung: Gerstner + Kutter, Basel, CH / Karl Gerstner, Donation: Gerstner, Gredinger + Kutter, Werbeagentur AG, Basel, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Papiertüte, Bech Electronic Centre, 1959–61, Gestaltung: Gerstner + Kutter, Basel, CH / Karl Gerstner, Donation: Gerstner, Gredinger + Kutter, Werbeagentur AG, Basel, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Exhibition texto
Bech Electronic Centre

The Basel advertising agency Gerstner + Kutter became known from 1959 onward for its new visual concepts. It was headed by the graphic designer Karl Gerstner (1930–2017) and the historian and copywriter Markus Kutter (1925–2005). They viewed idea, text, and form as an inextricable whole and designed “programs” as a means for solving design problems. For the corporate identity of the Bech Electronic Centre, a play on words in the company logo became the basis for a cross-media design program.