It is hard to find better advertising than the "object posters"
created in Basel in the '40s and '50s by Herbert Leupin, Niklaus Stoecklin
and Peter Birkhauser. These delightful posters make their points simply
and humorously. Along with Leupin, Birkhauser specialized in combining
wit with his beautifully drawn, hyper-realistic products.
The object poster was especially suited to lithography, where brilliant
color and richness in texture could be achieved to make objects look real.
The Swiss had a passion for this style, perhaps because it appealed to
their love of precision, but also because it could be understood by everyone
- not a simple task in a country with four national languages.
Birkhauser apprenticed with Stoecklin from 1931 to 1934, in whose studio
he created his first poster. It was an object poster of a button, done
for the Zurich clothing store PKZ, which is one of the most prized Swiss
posters of all time. Throughout the '40s he produced masterpiece after
masterpiece in the super-realist style. Birkhauser's delightful poster
of a giant, red pencil for the Globus department store was one of the
very first Object Posters that did not feature the product at all. Rather,
Birkhauser used a clever advertising line and a supergraphic of the pencil,
complete with carved point and ding, to attract attention for a Zurich
department store. Birkhauser's pencil started a small tradition amongst
the Object poster artists. Several of them, including Brun and Leupin,
"quoted" from Birkhauser by including carved red pencils in
their posters into the fifties.