Sophie Wietlisbach


Plakat, Thesis P.S., Advocate

Sophie Wietlisbach has specialised in typography, a particularly Swiss field and tradition. Impressed by the quality of her work, the MBAL is offering an exhibition space to the young graphic designer who received the EXECAL award last year for her research work Caractères SA, Setag, Novatype and The Police. Her work offers a contemporary interpretation of three typefaces from Swiss type manufacturers active between 1941 and 1997: Caractères SA, developed in Le Locle and Neuchâtel; Setag, in Bassecourt and Novatype, in Delémont. Wietlisbach has thus conducted research on an industry that disappeared with the arrival of digital technology. During the 20th century, typewritten documents quickly replaced handwritten letters and typewriters soon became indispensable. A large part of the world’s type production was produced in Switzerland, especially in the Jura region. Wietlisbach’s research focuses in particular on the history of these three companies in a region that benefits from the high-precision mechanical skills associated with the watchmaking industry. The digital interpretations created by Sophie Wietlisbach offer a contemporary version of these three writing styles, adapted for modern use. With Plakat, Thesis P.S., Advocate, the artist plays with the different textures, unit systems and mechanical heritage of these fonts. Historical objects related to the making of typefaces complete her installation. Her work reveals itself as a powerful form of plastic language, which, under its enigmatic aspect, resonates with a singular facet of the history of the Jura.

Sophie Wietlisbach (Switzerland, 1993) focuses on poster design, editorial graphics and type design. After graduating in visual communication at the Bern University of the Arts, she continued her studies at the ECAL where she obtained a master’s degree with honours in 2020. She is currently working as an assistant for the Type Design Master at the ECAL.

The MBAL would like to thank the Musée de la machine à écrire in Lausanne for the objects on loan.