Max Huber (graphic designer)

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Max Huber (1919–92) was an influential Swiss twentieth century graphic designer.

Max Huber was born in Baar, Switzerland in 1919. He graduated from Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich under the name Hans Williman. In his formative years he met Werner Bischof, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Carlo Vivarelli and Hans Falk.

His career begins in 1935 in Zurich where he works for an advertising agency and later with Emil Schultness at Conzett&Huber. He meets Max Bill and Hans Neuburg.

With the beginning of the World War II – in order to avoid being drafted in the Swiss army – he moves to Milan to join the Studio Boggeri. But Italy enters the war in 1941 and Huber is forced back to Switzerland where he begins a collaboration with Werner Bischof and Emil Schultness for the influential art magazine Du.

He joins the group Allianz and, in 1942, he exhibits his abstract work at the Kunsthaus Zurich with Max Bill, Leo Leuppi, Richard Lohse and Camille Graeser.

With the end of the war is back in Milan. The Italian publisher Einaudi appoints him to creative director for the publishing house. The job puts him in contact with the post-war Italian intelligentsia: Cesare Pavese, Natalia Ginzburg, Elio Vittorini, Franco Fortini, Ettore Sottsass, Achille Castiglioni and Albe Steiner.

The following years are marked by some of his most iconic and influential designs. With Albe Steiner he works for the VIII Triennale di Milano. A keen jazz fan himself, he designs a series of stunning records covers, music magazines and the set stage for a jazz festival. He meets Louis Armstrong. In 1948 he designs the seminal poster for the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza Grand Prix and two years later the corporate identity for the supermarket chain La Rinascente. With Achille Castiglioni he designs large-scale installations for RAI, Eni and Montecatini.

In 1954 is awarded the prestigious Compasso d’oro and in 1958 he travels to the US as a speaker to the First International Seminar on Typography (New York Art Directors Club).

In 1965 the Nippon Design Committee organised an exhibition of his work at Matsuya Design Gallery in Tokyo. This trip is the beginning of the designer close tie with Japan that will culminate with marrying the artist and illustrator Aoi Kono.

In his later years he alternates commercial commissions, personal visual experimentation with teaching graphic design at Scuola Umanitaria in Milan, at Scuola Politecnica di Design also in Milan and finally at CSIA (Centro Scolastico Industrie Artistiche) in Lugano.

He died in Mendrisio, in 1992.

m.a.x.museo, a museum dedicated to his name and preserving his personal archive, is opened in Chiasso in 2005.


  • Max Huber | Progetti Grafici 1936_1981, Electa, CL 35-0704-1
  • Lo Studio Boggeri | 1933-1981, Electa, CL 35-0686-X
  • Max Huber, Phaidon Press, ISBN 978-0-7148-4547-0

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