In 1975 Swiss graphic designer Niklaus Troxler founded the Willisau Jazz Festival, which he directed until 2009. His series of posters for the festival represents an ongoing study in design process, as Troxler explored diverse means to create letterforms outside the norms of typography and typefaces. As variations on a theme, the posters reflect on the process of jazz itself.

Poster, Jazz Willisau: Eskelin, Ham Bennink, 2009.  Designed by Niklaus Troxler for Jazz Festival Willisau (Willisau, Switzerland). Offset lithograph.128.1 × 90.6 cm (50 7/16 × 35 11/16 in.) Gift of Niklaus Troxler, 2009-3-15.

Poster, Jazz Willisau: Eskelin, Ham Bennink, 2009. Designed by Niklaus Troxler for Jazz Festival Willisau (Willisau, Switzerland). Offset lithograph.128.1 × 90.6 cm (50 7/16 × 35 11/16 in.) Gift of Niklaus Troxler, 2009-3-15.

Poster, Jazz Willisau: Carlos Actis Bato Quartet, 2000.  Designed by Niklaus Troxler for Jazz Festival Willisau (Willisau, Switzerland). Offset lithograph.128.1 × 90.6 cm (50 7/16 × 35 11/16 in.) Gift of Niklaus Troxler, 2009-3-14.

Poster, Jazz Willisau: Carlos Actis Bato Quartet, 2000. Designed by Niklaus Troxler for Jazz Festival Willisau (Willisau, Switzerland). Offset lithograph.128.1 × 90.6 cm (50 7/16 × 35 11/16 in.) Gift of Niklaus Troxler, 2009-3-14.

Caitlin Condell is the Assistant Curator in the Department of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

The exhibition How Posters Work is currently on view at Cooper Hewitt through November 15, 2015.  You can learn more at the exhibition homepage  and find the book How Posters Work at SHOP Cooper Hewitt. #HowPostersWork

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