Helmut Schmid

by Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Born in Austria as a German citizen, he was apprenticed as a typesetter. During the 1960s, he attended AGS Basel—Allgemeine Gewerbeschule (School of Design) studying under Emil Ruder, Kurt Hauert, and Robert Büchler.

Once completed his studies, he worked in West Berlin and Stockholm, then moved to Montreal to work at Ernst Roch Design, then Vancouver, and Osaka. From 1973 to 1976 he worked in Dusseldorf designing publicity material for the German government and the chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt.

Since 1977 he lives and works in Osaka, Japan, focusing on corporate design, editorial design, and packaging. In 1981 he opened his own studio and designed an outstanding packaging identity for OPC (Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.), that is still in use today.

From 2000 to 2012 he was a lecturer at KDU (Kobe Design University). In 2005-06 he was a full-time professor at Hongik University in Seoul. He gave lectures in China, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Switzerland.


Member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) and ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) since 1988. His work has been exhibited in Japan and The Netherlands.

He wrote numerous articles and essays on typography for international design magazines such as Baseline, Grafisk Revy, Graphic Design, and Idea. Since 1976 he has been also a contributor to TM (Typographische Montatsblätter), a prominent Swiss typography magazine.

In 1980 he edited and designed the successful “Typography Today” (Seibundo Shinkosha, 1980), republished in 2003 and 2015 with extended pages and material. Since 1989 he publishes a series of “Typographic Reflections”—now at vol.11.

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