From iOS to Material Design, the legacy of International Typographic Style is everywhere in digital design. That’s pretty impressive, considering the fact that the 1950s-era Swiss design trend was never meant to be animated–let alone adapted to modern devices. It was for static posters, book covers, pamphlets, wayfinding, and magazines. It just so happens that the principles of International Typographic Style, like unusual color combinations, abstract geometric patterns, and bold typography, work really well in digital motion.
As if to show what International Style designers like Josef Müller-Brockmann, Armin Hofmann, and Hans Neuberg would have been doing if they had been designing in the iPhone age, Jon Yablonski took a series of classic International Style prints and recreated them as animations in CSS. What’s so striking about these recreations is how effortlessly they seem to come to life, almost as if they had originally been designed this way.
Animated, Müller-Brockmann’s Akari poster becomes a swirling ring of colors; his 1955 poster for Zürich Tonhalle morphs into an abstract traffic intersection of criss-crossing polygons; Neuberg’s Konstructive Grafik poster from 1958 takes on the feel of a Saul Bass credits sequence. In motion, any one of these posters looks like the loading screen of an award-winning modern app.
If it doesn’t show that International Style was a design movement ahead of its time, it certainly shows that the principles of good graphic design are timeless.