After studying painting at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Geneva and at the Academie Moderne in Paris, Herbert Matter established himself as an eminently talented graphic designer with his breakout project — a series of advertisements for the Swiss National Tourist Office. The campaign, which exhibited his keen sense of collage and skillful typesetting, is regarded as one of the great examples of 20th century graphic design.
After immigrating to the United States, Matter worked briefly as a photographer in the offices of Charles and Ray Eames. Florence and Hans Knoll — believing that he was the perfect candidate to brand their young company and the designers which it represented — convinced Matter to come to New York and develop the Knoll graphics program.
Matter accepted and, from 1946 to 1966, served as the primary design consultant for all Knoll graphics. With responsibilities ranging from photography and advertising to catalog and logo design, Matter defined the public image of Knoll during the company’s formative years. Perhaps Matter’s most memorable contributions are his advertisements, in particular his Womb Chair Chimney Sweep ad, which ran in the New Yorker for thirteen years.
After leaving Knoll, Herbert Matter continued to work as a graphic designer and taught photography at Yale University.