Be inspired by a classic, clean, and concise design aesthetic.
Let’s take a quick look at a period of design history, and discuss how it informs and applies to your blog today.
Even if you haven’t heard the term “Swiss Style” before, you’ve surely seen it in action. In graphic design history, “Swiss Style” (also known as the “International Typographic Style”) refers to a specific type of design that was made popular by Swiss designers like Joseph Müller-Brockmann and Armin Hofmann in the 1950s. The Swiss Style movement was based on the idea that design should be objective: the content should lead the message. Designers stripped out superfluous elements and used a clean, clear aesthetic to accentuate and amplify the core message.
Though we often refer to this as “Swiss Style”, the core concepts didn’t necessarily originate in Switzerland. Swiss Style is based on a number of ideas that originated in Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia, as far back as the 1920s.
Stylistically, Swiss Style typically involves simple, clear presentation of content, mathematical grid-based layouts, pure shapes and forms, and sans-serif typefaces. When photography is used, it’s a tool to convey the message, not just to keep the page pretty.
The legacy of Swiss Style is everywhere. Much of what we view on the web incorporates ideas developed during this time. Grid-based layouts, clean typography, and information-driven design are all standard best practices for websites nowadays. The movement also gave birth to many typefaces that are widely used today: Akzidenz-Grotesk, Helvetica, and Univers to name a few.
Bring Swiss Style to your blog
If you’re inspired by Swiss Style, WordPress.com has dozens of themes that might be right up your alley. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Remember, this is just one of many different design approaches you can take with your blog! Always be sure to choose a theme and an aesthetic that works for you.
Beyond theme choice, consider the following aesthetic decisions to reflect the Swiss design mindset:
- Pare down your design to only the elements that help tell your story.
- Choose fonts that don’t distract from your content. Lato, Montserrat, and Noto Sans are all fantastic Swiss-inspired fonts available in the Customizer.
- Ensure you have clear text hierarchy. Large, bold headlines paired with smaller, lighter body text is a good place to start. Swiss design has a great respect for typograhy, so be sure to make your text structured and readable.
- Consider using geometric shapes for your blog’s header and post imagery.
- Choose a bold, bright color palette, or just keep things simple with black and white.
- Use photography that adds value to your posts, not just something that makes them pretty.