Ladislav Sutnar: Build the Town building block set (1943)

"Factory Town" toy prototype, c 1942 by Ladislav Sutnar

21/02/11 – Ladislav Sutnar began designing toys while a student at the School of Applied Arts in Prague in the early 1920s. His use of simple geometric shapes and bright colours resonated with children as well as adults. His designs, though rooted in the rich heritage of Czechoslovak folk art, helped bring toy design into the 20th century. (more…)

Ladislav Sutnar: Design and paper, number 13 (1943)

Design and paper: number 13
17/07/09 – Selections from Design and paper number 13: controlled visual flow by Ladislav Sutnar, Marquardt and Co., New York (1943). (more…)

Ladislav Sutnar: Design and paper, number 19 (1945)

Design and paper: number 19

16/07/09 – Selections from Design and paper number 19: shape, line and colour by Ladislav Sutnar, Marquardt and Co., New York (1945).

Design and paper was a series of softcover booklets produced by New York paper wholesaler Marquardt and Co. between 1937 and 1952(?). Its production ran quarterly for 39 issues and was printed at a very high standard. The series showcased the finest papers for printers, art directors and others in the printing trade. After number 7, issues were primarily devoted to individual artists and designers. Ladislav Sutnar featured in numbers 13 and 19.

In issue 19, Sutnar gives a brief and illustrative lesson in the use of shape, line and colour for organizing and presenting information. Sutnar’s characteristic style is evident in the bold use of colour, dynamic spreads and organizational signposts.

Issue 19 colophon:
Cover: Crysteel Bristol – High Plate – 22.5 x 28.5 – 200M
Text: Dullbrite White – Substance 25 × 38–70
Plates by Royal-Jones Photo Engraving Corp.

Numbers 13 and 19 were accurately reproduced in 2003 from the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague// by Fraktály Publishers. (more…)

Ladislav Sutnar: Designer and Artist

Ladislav Sutnar Design

10/10/07 – “While Richard Saul Wurman is credited with the term ‘information architect,’ Sutnar was one of the Modern pioneers. Sutnar contributed a no-nonsense structure to how graphical information could be presented…” -Steven Heller

Czech designer, Ladislav Sutnar (1897-1976), is considered a pioneer of communication design and information architecture. His vast and varied output ranges from graphic works including all manner of book covers, pamphlets, and corporate letterhead to orientation systems in large department stores; from tea sets to oil paintings; from children’s toys and books to visual flow diagrams based on research into optics and psychology.

He worked as an academic and graphic designer in Czechoslovakia until 1938 when he traveled to the United States to work on the Czecho-Slovak Pavilion for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. While working there, war broke out in Europe effectively leaving him stranded in the United States. (more…)

Oliver Tomas

  • Design historian and archivist based in Vancouver, Canada.
  • info[at]olivertomas[dot]com