Graphic designer Fred Troller forged a Swiss modernist path through corporate America in a career that spanned five decades and began in the early 1950s. Troller’s dynamic approach made use of bold colour, photographic imagery and minimalist sans-serif typography. His striking, type-led graphics were applied to everything from packaging for the Geigy Chemical Corporation to posters for American Airlines and paperback book covers for publishers Doubleday. Troller was preoccupied with eliminating visual chaos and the desire to communicate complex ideas with concise minimalism – ideas that contrasted to the more ornate trends that prevailed in US visual culture in the 1960s.
Troller was born in Zurich in 1930 and graduated from the Zurich School of Design in 1951. He then worked as an independent graphic designer before relocating to New York in 1960, where he became design director of the Geigy art department. While there he produced a range of influential work for the firm across advertising, packaging and editorial design, making use of grids, white space and abstract graphics, and establishing the clear and direct Geigy style in the process. Troller wrote that “Geigy’s advertising is in reality neither Swiss nor a style. It is the evolutionary result of years of experimentation and discovery.... It is more properly defined as a functional approach to design.”
In 1966 he founded Troller Associates, in response to the burgeoning demand for unified graphic identity systems, trademarks and annual reports and worked with clients such as IBM, Cross Siclare Papers, Faber Castell, Hoffmann LaRoche, Champion International, New York Zoological Society and more. In his New York Times obituary of Troller in 2002, Steven Heller wrote that his clear and direct style contained a personal approach “characterised by the manipulation of geometric forms, jarring juxtapositions of large and small type and visual puns formed from the characters themselves.” As a successful artist and sculptor, Troller also exhibited his work in galleries in New York, while in 1995, his design career was celebrated in a retrospective show at Georgia State University. Troller taught at the School of Visual Arts and Cooper Union, among many other institutions, and was chairman of the Division of Graphic Design at Alfred University from 1988 until 2000. He died in 2002 aged 71.
Specification297 × 210mm
Printed 5/5 throughout on 157gsm Matt Art FSC paper.
Swiss-bound hardback with head and tail bands. One colour foil-blocking on case.
Collector’s edition slipcase has a hinged flap on open side with magnetic fastening and is covered in black imitation cloth over 2.5mm grey board, foil-blocked in three colours.