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Hans Schleger

(1898—1976) graphic designer


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(1898–1970) Well known for his post-Second World War corporate identity schemes for leading British companies such as ICI, Macfisheries, the British Sugar Corporation, Finmar Furniture Ltd., Fisons Pest Control, and the John Lewis Partnership, German-born Schleger established a reputation for his graphic work from the 1920s onwards. After studying fine arts at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin (1918–21) he worked as a set designer and publicist for the Hagenbeck Film Company in the same city before leaving for New York in 1924. He set up his own agency in Madison Avenue under the name ‘Zeró’ (the pseudonym he used to sign his graphic work), introducing a number of the principles of graphic Modernism to the USA in his newspaper and magazine advertisements. During the 1920s his work was published on both sides of the Atlantic. He returned to Berlin in 1929, working as an art director in the German offices of a leading British advertising agency, W. S. Crawford. In 1932, in the difficult political climate in Germany, Schleger emigrated to England (and was naturalized in 1938). Edward McKnight Kauffer, a leading London-based graphic designer, helped to promote his work through an exhibition at Lund Humphries, a leading art publisher, in 1934. His reputation was enhanced by his posters for BP Ethyl Petrol (1934) and Shell (1938), the latter a strikingly Surrealistic design. He also worked for London Transport, designing posters as well as bus stop graphics (1935) adapted from the signage of Edward Johnston. During the Second World War he designed many striking posters for government propaganda, the General Post Office, and London Transport. After the War Schleger, like fellow German immigrant F. H. K. Henrion, played an important role in establishing corporate identity design in Britain. His well-known trademark and symbol designs include those for the Design Centre, London (1956), the British Sugar Corporation (1961), the John Lewis Partnership (1964), and the Penguin Press (1965). From 1951 to 1952 he was a consultant to the Mather and Crowther advertising agency, setting up his own consultancy, Hans Schleger and Associates in 1954.

He was a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) and the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (SIAD, See Chartered Society of Designers) and was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry in 1959.

From A Dictionary of Modern Design in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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