Herbert Leupin: Stunning Graphics & Whimsy

An Exhibition of Vintage Posters

Herbert Leupin:(1916-1999) Leupin was born in Beinwil am See Switzerland. From 1932 to 1935 he trained at Kunstgewerbeschul in Basel where he studied under such masters as Paul Kammuller, Herman Eidenbenz and Donald Brun. After graduation he did an internship at atelier Eidenbenz. Then from 1935-1936 he studied at L’Ecole Paul Colin in Paris. (Paul Colin master of the Art Deco poster and noted for discovering Josephine Baker)


Herbert Leupin stepped out on his own 2 years later, in 1938, as an independent graphic designer. In 1939 he was commissioned by Bell (the best charcuterie butcher in Basel) to design a poster for them. The poster Leupin created was so successful for the butcher they had to have the cutting boards created for their customers.

For Leupin this was the begining of a decades long career. He is considered to be one of the most important European graphic designers of the 20th century. He was the most prolific, award winning and influential of the Swiss Graphic designers. He produced nearly 1000 posters, won 85 Swiss Poster of The Year awards, and countless others internationally including The Medal Award of The Art Directors Club Chicago in1960.   Currently Herbert Leupin has at least 10 posters in the permanent colletion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

1941 (moma)


1947 (moma)




In the 1940’s & 1950’s the “Object Poster” was “The” style of the graphic designers of the Basel School. These posters were especially well suited to stone lithography. This process allowed the designer to achieve a richness in color and texture that created images that popped off the page and were printed with such detail that they appear 3 dimensional.
quot;A poster has to contain the solution to three problems: 1. The Optical…It has to be seen, 2.The Graphic… it is obliged to get its message across rapidly. 3. The Poetic…The poster is an image combined with a word. Its goal is to create…a series of mental associations… and they must be unforgettable.” A. M. Cassandre Herbert Leupin was able to combine his incredible graphic skill, subtle sense of humor and gifted use of color to achive some of the best “Object Posters” of that era.







In the 1950’s Leupin struggled to reinvent his style, necessitated by the phasing out of stone lithography for photo-offset printing. Fortunately for us Leupin found inspiration in the early drawings of his sons. This period is marked by a more spontaneous, free and expressive time for Leupin. As well this period is a graphic depiction of his subtle, whimsical sense of humor.

Leupin created long running campaigns for some of his countries favorite companies including Bata Shoes, Pepita Grapefruit Soda, Eptinger Mineral Water and the Lausanne Tribune where he invites you to read the paper with your coffee “Chaque Matin” every morning! As well as other companies large and small like Coca Cola and Buhler, Hefti & Co. where the virtuoso takes a deep bow while motioning to the piano.

Today, these posters are much sought after and continue to be quite rare!





Through the 1960’s Leupin continued to use his talents to produce posters that conveyed their messages directly with a single glance. Herbert Leupin took the aspirations of his client seriously, but did not neglect the consumer. He had a broad range of styles and used them to solve the “three problems” of Great Posters and continued to create many.

In the 1970’s Leupin increasingly dedicated his time to non-commercial work. Though he illustrated several children’s books and would occaionally design a logo or poster for a company.

From 1970 untill his death he lived and worked in the Ticino region of Southern Switzerland.