Beyond Helvetica: Swiss Perspective at TYPO

The largest conference for typography returns to San Francisco with three designers from Switzerland.

Event Details


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater Theater
700 Howard Street, San Francisco, California 94103 United States


April 11, 2013 8:00 am - April 13, 2013 5:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)

When you think “contrast,” what comes to mind? Contrasting viewpoints; compare and contrast; the difference between tonal levels in a design? Whatever your vantage point, whether you’re thinking about the graphics on your own screen or the differences between cultures that inform the design industry, this year at TYPO San Francisco, speakers from all over the world—including three from Switzerland—reflect on any variation of “contrast” in design.

swissnex San Francisco is thrilled to support the three leading Swiss designers speaking at TYPO: Ursus Wehrli, Ludovic Balland, and Jürg Lehni.


Thursday, April 11 at 1 pm: Ursus Wehrli, “The Art of Clean Up”
Artist and comedian Ursus Wehrli shares his vision for a cleaner, more organized, tidier form of art—by deconstructing the paintings of modern masters into their component pieces, sorted by color and size. Beyond the whimsy, of course, is a serious message, to honor and balance creativity and messiness, form and chaos.

Friday, April 12 at 10 am: Ludovic Balland, “The Modern Man Thinks in Contrasts”
Ludovic Balland’s talk will confront some typographic works with their surroundings. Typography in use needs to be in relation to its context, it needs to make a contrast and to affect the urban landscape in order to stay visible and to be remembered. “Thinking in terms of contrasts is not a confused way of thinking.”

Friday, April 12 at 3 pm: Jürg Lehni, “Scenarios of Production”
Artist and designer Jürg Lehni presents a series of anecdotal and tangential bits and bobs, mixed with some of his own collaborative works, with the aim to shed light on the hidden poetic potential of technological processes and devices, their impact on aesthetics when applied within the arts, their potential as platforms for making and as vehicles for thoughts and expression, and the need for an openness towards technology.

swissnex is pleased to collaborate with TYPO San Francisco for the first time and continue to showcase new typographic works from Switzerland after exhibiting Types we can Make in May 2012, curated by ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne.


Ludovic Balland

Ludovic Balland specializes in typography, typesetting and conceiving book projects. He studied visual communication at the University of Art and Design in Basel and trained at Dalton & Maag in London. In 2002 he founded the studio The Remingtons in Basel, focusing on typography and typesetting techniques. In 2006 he founded his own studio, Typography Cabinet, where he focuses on book design, visual identities for international brands and cultural Institutions, and investigations in typography. Balland teaches graduate and undergraduate typography at ECAL/University of Art and Design in Lausanne. He’s also given several typography workshops and lectures.


 Jürg Lehni

Jürg Lehni works collaboratively across disciplines, dealing with the nuances of technology, tools, and the human condition. His works often take the form of platforms and scenarios for production, such as the drawing machines Hektor, Rita, and Viktor, as well as software-based structures and frameworks, including, and Lehni has shown internationally in group and solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; Centre Pompidou in Paris; and the Design Museum in London. He currently teaches in the UCLA Design and Media Arts department. @juerglehni


Ursus Wehrli

Ursus Wehrli is a left-handed, broad-thinking, professional typographer. His first book ‘Tidying up Art’ is a visionary manifesto that took well-known artworks and put them back together in his more rational, more organized, and cleaner form of modern art. In his newest book ‘The Art of Clean Up,’ published by Chronicle Books and featured in the New York Times, Wehrli extended his discerning eye into the physical world to tidy up common daily situations.
He is currently working on sorting things that are normally too big to organize. Besides bringing order to environments and artwork, Wehrli has delighted audiences for over a quarter of a century with his comedy-duo Ursus & Nadeschkin, touring in Zurich, Berlin, London, Melbourne, and New York. He lives in Zurich as a comedian, live performer, and freelance artist, and can be hired to perform to put things in (his) order.



Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos