This is the eGuide number for the object. You can find it next to selected objects in the exhibition.
This is the location number for the object.
Click here to go to the main menu.
Click here to change languages.
Click here to change the font size and log in.
Click here to show the location of the object.
Zoom with two fingers and rotate images 360° with one finger. Swipe an object to the side to see the next one.
Click here for background information, biographies, legends, etc.
Click here to listen to spoken texts or audio files.
Share an object.
Download as PDF.
Add to saved objects.
Poster, Bic – Kugelschreiber, 1964
Ruedi Külling
Poster, Bic – Kugelschreiber,
Ruedi Külling,

Poster, Bic – Kugelschreiber,

Ruedi Külling
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • Bic – Kugelschreiber Ruedi Külling
Listen to the text

The Bic ballpoint pen has long been considered a cult classic, even finding its way into notable museum collections. Similarly, Ruedi Külling’s (b. 1935) 1964 advertisement for the pen is an iconic poster. Külling achieved a stroke of genius here, completely avoiding any illustration of the pen itself in his advertisement.

In 1945, Marcel Bich (1914–1994) and his partner Edouard Buffard (1908–1996) founded a company in France to manufacture parts for fountain pens and mechanical pencils. The breakthrough only came in 1950, however, when the firm launched a ballpoint pen in a variety of colors. The brand name Bic, a shortened form of the company founder’s name, was soon heard all over the world. Bic made the ballpoint pen into a staple product and soon brought out a disposable version, making the word “Bic” synonymous in many countries with the writing utensil. In Külling’s classic poster, he didn’t depict the object itself, its use, or an enthusiastic writer with pen in hand; instead, he utilized only the brand name, dramatically filling the entire page. This strategy also visually highlights the association with the idea of “big”. The self-confident showcasing of the manufacturer and brand name does, however, artfully refer to the uses of the product, as each letter of “Bic” is handwritten in one of the four classic colors of the ballpoint pen. The lively gestural quality of the writing, which shows the repeated tracing of the letters in one stroke, simultaneously advertises the quality of the ballpoint pen: a reliable flow of ink across the ball, without any smearing. At a time when a rigidly objective and rational graphic style known as “Swiss Style” was enjoying an international heyday, in the process popularizing the use of the Helvetica typeface, Külling’s creative approach was especially bold. (Bettina Richter)

Plakat, Bic – Kugelschreiber, 1964
Erscheinungsland: Schweiz
Gestaltung: Advico AG, Gockhausen, CH / Ruedi Külling
Auftrag: Bic S.A., Montagnola, CH
Material/Technik: Offset
128 × 90 cm
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Bettina Richter (Hg.), Letters only, Poster Collection 22, Zürich 2010.

Image creditso

Plakat, Bic – Kugelschreiber, 1964, Schweiz, Gestaltung: Advico AG, Gockhausen, CH / Ruedi Külling
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Inserat, Bic, um 1965, Gestaltung: Advico AG, Gockhausen, CH / Ruedi Külling, Donation: Ruedi Külling
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK