Max Huber

Max Huber

Max Huber was one of the pre-eminent twentieth century Swiss graphic designers. He designed art covers for music magazines, records and the set stage for concerts. Besides, he exhibited his work internationally and worked as an art instructor.

On June 5, 1919, Max Huber was born in Baar, Switzerland. Similar to his contemporary, Josef Müller-Brockmann, he also received his education from Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich, under Hans Williman. He had the opportunity of making acquaintance with major artists of his time in his formative years. The artists included Carlo Vivarelli, Werner Bischof, Hans Falk and Josef Müller-Brockmann. He began his career working for an advertising agency in 1935. Later he worked for Emil Schultness at Conzett & Huber and met Hans Neuburg and Max Bill. In order to avoid being conscripted into army at the advent of World War II, he decided to move to Milan and join the Studio Boggeri. However, the war spread to Italy by 1941, which forced Huber to return to Switzerland. Upon his return he joined the influential art magazine Du and collaborated with Emil Schultness and Werner Bischof and soon joined the group Allianz. With Max Bill, Richard Lohse, Camille Graeser and Leo Leuppi , he exhibited his abstract artwork at Kunsthaus Zurich, in 1942.

As the war came to an end, Huber relocated to Milan. Upon his arrival in Italy, he was offered a position as creative director by the Italian publisher Einaudi for his publishing house. Being a creative director for the publication he came into contact with the post-war Italian intelligentsia. Some of the scholarly figures and major artists he met include Natalia Ginzburg, Elio Vittorini, Achille Castiglioni and Cesare Pavese. The years that followed are recognized as some of the most productive years of his life. He produced some epic and influential designs during late 1940s. He was commissioned to work for the VIII Triennale di Milano in collaboration with Albe Steiner. Being fond of jazz music, he worked on the covers of several records and music magazine producing some stunning cover arts. Moreover, he designed the seminal poster for the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza Grand Prix. He took on the project of creating corporate identity for various clients, such as the supermarket chain La Rinascente.

Huber’s contribution to graphic designing was highly appreciated and that culminated in him receiving the prestigious Compasso d’oro award, in 1954. Additionally, he attended the First International Seminar on Typography as a speaker, in 1958. As his artwork gained international popularity, several countries exhibited his works. In Tokyo, Nippon Design Committee held an exhibition displaying Huber’s work at Matsuya Design Gallery. The exhibition established his close ties with Japan and with that he grew fascinated not only with the country but artists as well, illustrator Aoi Kono in particular to whom he later married.

In his later years, he began teaching graphic design. Huber substituted personal visual experimentation and commercial commissions with this newfound passion for teaching graphic designing. He was offered a position at Scuola Umanitaria in Milan and then he was appointed at Scuola Politecnica di Design. Finally, he went to Lugano to teach at Centro Scolastico Industrie Artistiche (CSIA). In 1992, his epic journey in this world as an iconic graphic designer came to a halt as he passed away in a small village on the Swiss-Italian border, Sagno. In Chiasso, a museum dedicated to him, m.a.x.museo was established in 2005 that preserves his personal archives.


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