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What is Switzerland? Let’s open it to find out

Open Switzerland was an idea born out of the fusion of GVA Studio and Base. Comprising an interactive website and a custom-made « neutral » typeface, the project aims to rethink and play with iconic Swiss imagery and values. It ended up starting a debate about what it means to challenge a country’s identity, and in the case of Switzerland, its very reason for being.

How open is Switzerland to the rest of the world today? Does it deserve to be called Europe’s walled fortress? What image does it evoke with its banking secrecy and financial scandals? Switzerland has historically chosen, rightly or wrongly, isolation in the heart of Europe. It shocked the world by banning minarets. While some think Switzerland is too slow in developing international policies, others demonstrate that the country is increasingly receptive to foreign influences. Whatever one’s position, how the world perceives Switzerland was a polemic we wanted to address head-on.

Hervé Rigal, Partner

The interactive aspect of the project is very important. We want people to react and develop their own thoughts, expressed though digital posters. The user-friendly OpenSwitzerland website allows everyone to contribute!

Anthony Franklin, Partner & Design Director

We designed the first series of posters to initiate the debate. It resulted in more than a thousand contributions in the days following the launch.

Anthony Franklin, Partner & Design Director

How to explore the concept of neutrality in typography? We asked typographer Matthieu Cortat of Nonpareille to blend 6 typefaces (Helvetica, Futura, Akzidenz, Avenir, Arial and Century Gothic) and find a perfect consensus. From this, our Basetica was born! You can download it for free on www.openswitzerland.org.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner