Font Designer – Emil Ruder

Emil Ruder was a Swiss typographer, teacher and graphic designer, as well as one of the leading figures in the so-called International Typographic Style of the 1950s.
Born in 1914 in Zurich, Ruder completed training as a typesetter at the age of 15, at a time in which the principles of the New Typography and the Bauhaus were being taught. After studying in Paris, Ruder attended classes for typesetting and printing at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich from 1941 to 1942.
He went on to teach Typography at the Allgemeinen Gewerbeschule in Basel in 1942 and in 1965 he was named Director of the Kunstgewerblichen Abteilung (Applied Arts Department) and the Industrial Arts Museum. He held this position until his death in 1970.
During this period, Ruder wrote numerous articles for the “Typografische Monatsblätter“ (Typographic Monthly) and was a co-founder of the International Center for the Typographic Arts in New York. He was also a member of the Swiss Werkbund and the Association Typographique Internationale (AtypI). One could argue that Emil Ruder, along with Jan Tschichold, was one of the few designers so committed to both the teaching and practice of typography.
In addition, he wrote the book “Typographie“ in 1967, in which he summarized his ideas, methods, and procedures, moving away from the subjective, style-driven typography of the past towards the precise application of text, where legibility and communication determine how a font is used.
Other characteristics of the International Typographic Style included clarity, readability and objectivity – for example, through the use of sans serif fonts, grid structures, white spaces, asymmetrical layout and typography as a principal design element. In retrospect, Emil Ruder was instrumental in the success and recognition of the International Typographic Style, thanks to his knowledge of the typographic avant-garde of the pre-war period, the advanced typesetting and printing techniques of his time, and his firm adherence to the principle: “Typography has one plain duty before
it and that is to convey information
in writing.”

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