The Edge: Michael Schwab, Timeless Graphic Design.

February 09, 2016 3 min read

There is a classic quality to his work – contemporary, but never trendy – that unique point of view. Robert Redford

Novedge: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. Schwab Portrait by Jock McDonaldMichael Schwab: I grew up in Oklahoma, attended School of Visual Arts in NY and Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and now work out of my studioin Marin County, California. Considering myself a graphic artist since high school, my heroes have always been sign painters, poster artists and book illustrators. I’ve always been obsessed with my work. I’m also obsessed with music, cooking, my garden, skiing, mountain biking and hunting.

Novedge: Posters are your most congenial graphic mediums; did you pick posters or posters picked you? 

Michael Schwab: Early in my career I would draw anything, but I put my heart and soul into posters. Being part of the 1960’s – I was inspired by the Fillmore posters, album covers, etc.  That interest led me to European poster artists such as The Beggarstaffs, Cassandra, Lucien Bernhard and Hohlwein.

Novedge: When did you know you were on the right track?

Michael Schwab:  When I began winning awards in Communication Arts  and Graphis for my poster designs.

Novedge:  What is a recent project you have worked on ? 

Michael Schwab: I’m always working on various phases of 3 or 4 projects.  Currently on my drawing table is a poster project for San Francisco Opera, four Bay Club brochure covers, wine menu cover, poster sketches for a Broadway play, logo for a Wild and Scenic river in Montana. Michael Schwab-Studio postersNovedge:  Your style is iconic and it's been described as "dramatic in its simplicity"; how would you describe your own style? 

Michael Schwab: My style is very graphic. Simple. Bold. The best description is a German word:  Plakatstil – or, poster style, popular in Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Novedge: In what historical period would you have liked to live?

Michael Schwab: 1900 – 1930

Novedge: What is your relationship with Design Technology?

Michael Schwab: Long distance. There is no computer on my drawing table. My projects begin with pencil and paper, then to ink on paper, scanned, then finally to digital files ready for printing. It’s definitely cleaner than airbrush paint. The computer, in the end, works well for me, but I’m certainly not what you would call tech-savvy.

Novedge: Tell us one simple rule about Graphic Design.

Michael Schwab: Less Is More.

Novedge: Did you ever consider another career?

Michael Schwab: No. Michael Schwab-Castro_SchwabMichael Schwab's work speaks for itself. Check out his amazing poster catalog and try to pick your favorite Michael Schwab Poster. It's not going to be an easy task. If you have been following Novedge during our coverage of the Architecture and The City Festival in September,  you will know that Micheal designed the poster symbol of the month long celebration. PEET'S SIPPING COFFEE poster green 8
A lot has been written about Michael Schwab and his work, but I would like to end this interview with a quote from Michael Schwab himself:

The basic premise of my work is this: the message must be succinct, immediate and legible from "way across the room". Michael Schwab

 Mission accomplished. 

Inspired to create iconic work ? I will try to be simple and succinct: Novedgeis the best place to buy Design Software online. 


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