timeline

ladislav sutnar was one of the pioneers in the
field of information design. His work was based
on rationality and displaying massive amounts
of information in a concise and organized way.

Ladislav Sutnar was born on November 9th, 1897 in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Sutnar studied painting at the School of Applied Arts in Prague, architecture at Charles University, and mathematics at the Czech Technical University. Post graduation, Sutnar worked on wooden toys, puppets, costumes, and stage design.

Sutnar worked as a design professor at the School of Visual Arts in Prague.

Ladislav Sutnar invented an
imaginary future with puppets and marionettes, hinting at the fundamentals of Modernism in their design.

There is an urgent need for communication based upon precision
and clarity
, this is the area in which Ladislav Sutnar excels.

: allon shoener, author & curator of the metropolitan museum of art

These hand-made and hand-painted toy animals are an ideal portrayal of Sutnar’s modern concept of a toy that combines the principles of new teaching methods, abstract art and what was originally intended as low-cost industrial production.

Delving into his industrial design career, Sutnar began designing and producing porcelain and glass tea sets.

Originally published in 1961, Ladislav Sutnar’s Visual Design in Action
is one of the most groundbreaking books on modern graphic design.
This reprint illustrates the power of design and features astonishingly contemporary graphics, advertisements and corporate identities for renowned brands.

: lars mueller publishers

At the 1939 World’s Fair, Sutnar was commissioned to design the Czech exhibit. Due to its cancellation, Sutnar moved into an apartment on 52nd street in New York, New York.

A more unseen side of Sutnar’s work was exhibited in his publishing of twelve silkscreen prints titled Strip Street,’ inspired by the late night streets of New York City. He considered these pieces his “joy-art,” and they consumed much of his later visual career.

After being forced to relocate to New York due to Nazi invasion, Sutnar worked as the art director of F.W. Dodge’s Sweets Catalogue Service. In his position he began the use of parentheses around the area codes of American phone numbers.

the father of information design

In 1976, ladislav sutnar passes from cancer, and behind him leaves a legacy of work and writing that prove his vitality as a designer and his passion for design.

Many designers—knowingly or not—have borrowed and applied Sutnar’s signature graphics to a post-modern style.
There is just one lesson from the past that should be learned for the benefit of the present,” Sutnar wrote in 1959,
it is that painstaking, refined craftsmanship appears to be dying out.