Practices in Design Education | Hundred Years Kurt Wirth 1917 – 2017

November 2 – November 30, 2017
Monday – Friday
9 am – 5pm
Building D, Parterre

The Practices in Design Education Hundred Years Kurt Wirth 1917 – 2017 — exhibition and symposium — is organised as a contribution to the reflection on the history of design education and to honour the 100th anniversary of the Swiss designer Kurt Wirth, one of the leading figures of 20th century Swiss graphic design. Kurt Wirth, born in Bern in 1917, began his graphic design apprenticeship in 1933 with Hans Fischer, opening his first studio in Bern in 1937. While his highly innovative designs for stamps, posters, book covers, coins etc., were globally recognized and collected in his own time, his decade long participation in the tradition of educating apprentices would also find international resonance. An article entitled “T he Apprentice”, published in Graphis Magazine in 1983, showcased six of Wirth’s apprentices. In addition to this, between 1971 – 1987, he would work as a drawing instructor for the Bernese Trade School for Arts and Crafts as well as publish two volumes concerning design education through drawing: In 1965 “Drawing when how”, Niggli, Teufen and 1976 “drawing a creative process”, ABC, Zurich. Kurt Wirth’s educational legacy is relevant to current research enquiries, in part, due to his uncompromising emphasis on drawing as the foundation of design processes, as well as, his successful employment of the masterapprentice model of education. In his time, this drawing-based artistic approach was generally recognised as a contrast to the developing design practices guided by minimalized conceptual parameters.

November 17, 2017
10 am – 5 pm
Building D, Auditorium

The Symposium is part of the exhibition „Practices  in Design Education | Hundred Years Kurt Wirth 1917 – 2017“.


9:00 Coffee

10:00 Welcome

10:10 The versatile designer: Kurt Wirth | Moreno Tuttobene

10:50 Education at School – Education at the Design Studio | Stephan Bundi

11:30 Women in Graphic Design – Questioning the Canonisation of Graphic Design History | Julia Meer

12:10 Lunch

13:30 The Role of Drawing in the Design-Process of Kurt Wirth | Michael Renner

14:10 Back to the roots: How hand skills remain basic in the digital age | Jenny Leibundgut

14:50 Drawing lines – The beginnings of graphic design education in Basel | Sandra Bischler

15:20 Coffee Break

15:40 Point, line, plane: Basic exercises in graphic design education | Sarah Klein

16:10 Speaker’s panel with Simon Wirth

17:00 Apéro

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