Herbert Matter

Herbert Matter was a Swiss-born American Graphic designer and photographer known for his pioneering use of photomontage in commercial art. His work was seen as unique and experimental. His work shaped the future language of graphic design.

Herbert Matter Portrait

In 1925 he attended an art college in Geneva, before moving to Paris 2 yrs later. Here, inspired by El Lissitzky and Man Ray, he started experimenting with the use of the Rollei Medium-format camera, focussing on collage, montage and other alternative techniques.

In 1929 he was hired as a designer and photographer and a legendary firm ‘Deberny and Peignot’. During his 3 yr employment, he he became very interested in Typography and refined the craft. He was suddenly deported back to Switzerland in 1932 after having disputes about his papers.

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He picked up work from the Swiss tourism office and started designing all of their travel posters. This arrangement continued until 1936 when he was offered a return trip to the USA as payment for some work he did for the Swiss ballet troupe. While in the States, he decided to stay on there, and quickly picked up work with Conde Nest taking photographs and designing layouts for their publications.

During World War II, he made posters for the Container Corp of America. He became a design consultant at Knoll, where he worked for 12 years. He then joined the Yale faculty in 1952 as a professor of photography and graphic design.

From here he taught at many places, was commissioned by prestigious galleries and corporations alike to rebrand, redesign, or be a pioneer of new ideas.

It is important to note that the AIGA medal is one given to practitoners who influence style and left their mark on design progress. Matters contribution to the development of photgraphy and design, and his tewching contributions, cement his name in the archive of the great designers of all time.




Visual Language of Herbert Matter

Real life elsewhere



  1. kinnit says:

    Awesome slideshow. Nice one, Kahra.

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