Hans Schleger

Biography

Posters, publicity, symbols, corporate identity. Born Hans Schlesinger 29 December 1898 in Kempen (adopted surname Schleger in 1919). Jewish. Studied at the Berlin Staatliche Kunstgewerbeschule and at the Reimann school. 1921-4: worked as a designer of sets and publicity posters for Hagenbeck Film Company. 1924-9: freelance designer in the USA including one year as art director at the Federal advertising agency in New York. Started to sign his work Zéró as a) he thought he was starting at that point, or b) ‘It just happened.’ He did drawings for the New Yorker magazine during this time. 1925: work published in Gebrauchsgraphik. This New York period made his reputation. 1929: returned to Germany; worked at the Berlin advertising agency of W.S. Crawford. November 1932: emigrated to London (naturalized 1939) where he continued his design work; his clients included Cresset Press, Shell, London Transport and the Post Office. His work was frequently reproduced in the British journal Modern Publicity. During the war he designed a series of posters for London Transport, the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, and a recruitment campaign for the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). Schleger designed numerous trademarks for industry including those for The Design Centre, John Lewis Partnership, the bus stop signs for London Transport, and Penguin Books. 1950: taught for a year at the Chicago Institute of Design; was head of the Department of Visual Studies there. 1951-63: with the agency Mather & Crowther. 1953: set up Hans Schleger & Associates, designing numerous corporate identities including those for Mac Fisheries, Finmar and British Sugar Corporation; other clients included British Rail, ICI, Fisons and Shell. 1959: became an RDI (Royal Designer for Industry). 1960: guest speaker, World Conference on Design, Tokyo. 1964: jury member, Typomundus 20. 1966: designed publicity for Edinburgh International Festival. Died in London 18 September 1976. His approach to design was often marked with a humorous touch.

Writings by

  • review of Bauhaus 1919-28 (rev. ed., 1952), in Art and Industry, Sept. 1953, p. 105
  • ‘Hans Schleger chats about New York’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Feb. 1930, pp. 69-72
  • ‘Hans Schleger – Zero’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Jan. 1933, pp. 22-3
  • ‘Terence Prentis’ (English advertising artist), Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., June 1933, pp. 42-51
  • ‘Zero on the designer’s problems’, Commercial Art, 1932, XIII, pp. 151-3
  • ‘Tom Purvis’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Nov. 1933, pp. 16-23
  • ‘Two Fortunes’ (Fortune magazine), Art and Industry, Oct. 1948, pp. 140-45
  • ‘Hans Schleger’s notes, opinions and prejudices’, Art and Industry, March 1949, pp. 82-9 (repr. in P. Schleger, 2001
  • see below)
  • ‘The artist’s point of view’, Modern Publicity, 1949, pp. 11-12
  • introduction in Yusaku Kamekura, Paul Rand, Tokyo: Zokeisha, and New York: Knopf, 1959
  • ‘Education – a time for discovery’, speech at World Design Conference, Tokyo, May 1960 (repr. in P. Schleger, 2001
  • see below)
  • ‘World Design Conference in Tokyo, 1960’, Graphis 92, 1960, pp. 534-5
  • ‘The function and limitation of the trademark’, IPA News, June 1962 (repr. in P. Schleger, 2001
  • see below)
  • Walter Amstutz (ed.), Who’s Who in Graphic Art, Zurich: Amstutz & Herdeg Graphis Press, 1962. , 1962.
  • Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., 1929, v. 7, insert between pp. 56/7 (work)
  • (Interview of the month), Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Nov. 1931, pp. 74, 76-8
  • ‘Plus a little something some others haven’t got!’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., May 1933, pp. 20-31
  • ‘Olympia London 1933’ (Advertising and Marketing Exhibition), Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Sept. 1933, pp. 22-37

Writings about

  • Mary Gowing, ‘Zero/Hans Schleger’, Art and Industry, May 1948, pp. 162-7
  • F.L. Billows, ‘S.I.A’ (Society of Industrial Artists), Graphis 14, 1946, pp. 250-57
  • ‘British poster designers know their job’, Art and Industry, Feb. 1948, pp. 42-52, esp. pp. 46, 52
  • H.K. Frenzel, ‘An hour with Silas Spitzer’ (about HS), Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Feb. 1930, pp. 56-7, 58, 60
  • W. Gaunt, ‘The spirit and the letter of modern advertising design’, Commercial Art, Oct. 1929, pp. 142-6, esp. p. 145 (exh. stand, World Advertising Congress, Berlin)
  • Christian Barman, ‘Hans Schleger/Zéró’, Art and Industry, 1937, v. 23, pp. 86-91
  • Eric Newton, ‘The poster in war-time Britain’, Art and Industry, July 1943, pp. 2-16
  • 1928-48: -‘Zéró (Hans Schleger) New York’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., 1928, v. 6, pp. 14-23 H.K. Frenzel, ‘The Advertising Exhibition, 1929, Berlin’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., 1929, v. 8, pp. 2-23 (exh. stand, p. 11)
  • Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., March 1937 (special number about London’s advertising art), pp. 12, 13, 41, 59
  • Paul Colin, ‘Paul Colin looks at the world’s war posters’, Art and Industry, Sept. 1945, pp. 87-90
  • Charles Rosner, ‘English book jackets’, Graphis 14, 1946, pp. 136-44, 263-4
  • Noel Carrington, ‘British poster art during the war’, Graphis, March 1946, pp. 172-85, 271-3
  • 1949-present: Charles Rosner, ‘Werbegraphik in England’, Graphik, 6, 1949, pp. 238-47 C. Rosner, ‘British commercial art’, Graphis 31, 1950, pp. 206-49, 286-8 L.P. Schreiber, ‘Zéró’, Graphis 41, 1952, pp. 224-31, 268
  • ‘Exhibition of art for industry in Stockholm National Museum’, Graphik, 1952, pp. 190-97
  • P. Shrewsbury, ‘Zero wirbt für frische Fische’ (work for Mac Fisheries), Graphik, 1953, 1, pp. 16-27
  • Modern Publicity 1953-4, 1953, pp. 25, 26, 59, 80, 116, 126, 131
  • use of poster, Design, April 1957, p. 63
  • M. Gowing, ‘Hans Schleger’, Graphis 93, 1961, pp. 18-27, 82 Willy Rotzler, ‘Public signs and lettering’, Graphis 104, 1962, pp. 582-609
  • An International Survey of Press Advertising, London: Thames & Hudson/André Deutsch, 1966
  • Paul Rand and George Him, ‘Hans Schleger (Zéró)’, Graphis 188, 1977, pp. 518-25, 566
  • Kunst im Exil in Grossbritannien 1933-1945 (exh. cat.), Berlin: Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst and Verlag Frölich & Kaufmann, 1986. , 1986
  • Hans Dieter Reichert, ‘Hans Schleger, starting from zero’, Baseline 27, 1999, pp. 33-40
  • Pat Schleger, Zéro: Hans Schleger/a life of design, Aldershot, UK: Lund Humphries, 2001
  • review of Zéro: Hans Schleger/a life of design, in Eye, 41, Autumn 2001
  • several posters shown in Sheila Taylor (ed.), The Moving Metropolis. A history of London’s transport since 1800, London: Laurence King, 2001
  • Phil Baines, Penguin by Design, London: Allen Lane, 2005
  • Ben Uri Gallery, Forced Journeys/Artists in Exile in Britain c.1933-45, London Jewish Museum of Art, 2009.
  • Ernst Fischer and others, Buchgestaltung im Exil 1933-1950. Eine Ausstellung des Deutschen Exilarchivs 1933-1945 Der Deutschen Bibliothek. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003. Very comprehensive. , 2003, biog.: pp. 196-7
  • ( plagiarized ), Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., May 1951, p. 57
  • Paul Reilly, ‘Hans Schleger (Zéró)’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Jan. 1956, pp. 30-39

Exhibitions

  • Lund, Humphries, London, 1934
  • New York, 1949
  • Chicago, 1951
  • National Museum, Stockholm, 1952
  • Tokyo, 1958
  • several British art schools, 1977-89
  • Design Museum, London, 1990/91
  • Pentagram, 1997
  • St Bride Printing Library, London, 2001
  • London Institute Gallery, 2002
  • V&A, London, 2007
  • Imperial War Museum, London, 2007 (group)
  • Ben Uri Gallery, London Jewish Museum of Art, London, 2009 (group).

Collections

  • London Transport Museum
  • Imperial War Museum, London.