Location: Jacksonville, Florida, United States

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Charles Kuhn Swiss designer of luggage labels

Charles Kuhn (1903-1999) was a designer of many spectacular Swiss hotel luggage labels and posters during the golden age of travel. Some of Kuhn's best designs were produced during a ten year period, roughly from 1930 to 1940. His works are noted for their clean, simple compositions and dramatic use of form and shape. Kuhn's tightly cropped images against simple backgrounds heightened the drama of his designs, an example of which can be seen in his poster for Hotel Hecht St. Gallen (upper left) printed around 1940. A fish intrudes into the frame as it grabs the name of the hotel in a banner at the bottom. Even in the small scale of a luggage label this image is both powerful and memorable. Kuhn also used humor to great effect as seen in one of his most successful designs, Hotel Casino Belvedere Davos (lower left) in which a lobster plays the bass as it's antenna wrap around the hotel name. In most cases, Kuhn signed his labels and posters with a simple "ck" monogram. The majority of his designs were published by Wolfsberg Press of Zurich Switzerland. Both the labels and posters were printed in the stone lithography process adding to their brilliance and detail. The four poster images above are unique because they were also produced as luggage labels. If you have an undiscovered Charles Kuhn label in your collection email me a jpeg and I'll post it for you!


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