Tara Markert


This thesis will provide a process to help graphic design scholars and historians conduct an evaluation of a designer whose work has been rarely documented within a specific design style. Through implementation of this model of research and evaluation, graphic design scholars will not only be able to identify that designer's philosophy and personal style, they will also recognize the value of studying within a specific style of graphic design. This evaluation process includes placing the work of the rarely documented designer beside the work of pioneers in this stylistic idiom in order to highlight similarities of thought, process, form and implementation. The opportunity to do this recently arose with the donation of Swiss designer Fred Troller's personal collection for inclusion in the Graphic Design Archive at Rochester Institute of Technology. Fred Troller's work has remained largely undocumented. His work enables this thesis to determine a model by which the work of any rarely documented designer can be placed within an historical context. Rat holds sufficient comparable work within the Graphic Design Archive so that Troller's work can be substantiated as an integral component of Swiss design, which was known for its strict use of mathematical grids, objectivity, and asymmetrical sans serif typography (flush left, ragged right). The evaluation process this thesis provides will enable the design scholar or historian to better understand an established design idiom. As a consequence, this knowledge can be appropriately applied to a design solution, rather than merely mimicking certain visual elements. For the purpose of this thesis, a Swiss 'tool kit' is a metaphor for the design characteristics that must be learned before the designer can explore the characteristics to capture the style of a certain movement. Within this figurative tool kit, a lexicon of Swiss design characteristics can be found. After gaining a better understanding of each syntactical term in the tool kit, the characteristics may be used to enrich the possibilities for solving current graphic design problems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Troller, Fred; Designers--Switzerland; Graphic design (Typography)--History

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Graphic Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


Bruce Ian Meader

Advisor/Committee Member

David Pankow

Advisor/Committee Member

R Roger Remington


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NC999.6.S9 T76 2006


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