Will the Real Ernst Bettler Please Stand Up?
Poster for Pfäfferli+Huber Pharmaceuticals, attributed to Ernst Bettler, 1959
Can graphic design provoke real social change? Consider the example of Ernst Bettler.
In the late 1950s, Bettler was asked to design a series of posters to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfäfferli+Huber. Aware of reports that P+H had been involved in testing prisoners in German concentration camps less than 15 years before, he hesitated, and then decided to accept the commission. "I had the feeling I could do some real damage," he said later.
And indeed he did. He created four posters featuring dramatic, angular black and white portraits juxtaposed with sans serif typography...