Max Miedinger

by Wednesday, February 22, 2017


At the age of sixteen Max became an apprentice typesetter at a book printing office for Jacques Bollmann (in Zürich). After four years as an apprentice, Miedinger enrolled in the School of Arts and Crafts. When he was 26 years old, he went to work for an advertising studio called Globe. Here he worked as a typographer and improved his skills. After ten years of working at Globe, Miedinger then gained employment with Haas Type Foundry as a representative. This is where he made his mark on history and designed the most used typeface of the 20th century, Helvetica.


Max Miedinger was a Swiss typeface designer. He was famous for creating the Neue Haas Grotesk typeface in 1957 which was renamed Helvetica in 1960. Marketed as a symbol of cutting-edge Swiss technology, Helvetica went global at once. Between 1926 and 1930 Miedinger trained as a typesetter in Zürich, after which he attended evening classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich.


From 1930 to 1936 he worked as a typesetter for various companies and also took evening courses at the art school in Zurich. From 1936 he worked as a typographer in the advertising department at Globus, Zurich’s renowned chain of department stores. In 1946 he started a new position as salesman at Haas Typefoundry in Münchenstein.


In 1954 he created his first typeface design: Pro Arte, a condensed slab serif. In 1956 Miedinger returned to Zurich to become a freelance advertising consultant and graphic designer, like his brother, Gérard, younger by two years. Eduard Hoffmann, head of the Haas Typefoundry, was convinced of his talent and shortly thereafter commissioned him to design a new sans serif typeface, the Neue Haas Grotesk. Horizontal, in 1965, was the third and final typeface he created for Haas.

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