I discovered Lora Lamm some months ago in this article by Chiara Medioli. It was love at first sight. I recognised the feeling: the butterflies in the stomach, the obvious smile and the nervous curiosity. I had fell for the playful illustrations of this Swiss designer.
The work of Lora Lamm is all about colourful optimism. One does not need to understand much about graphic design to be inspired by the freshness she instils with every advert. Her style is defined by the perfect combination of a simple message and a powerful image. Clear, concise, ingenious. It seems easy. Simply drawn lines, a couple of photography cut-outs and a line of text - anyone could do that, but only Lora Lamm was able to transform these three elements into an unforgettable and effective composition. Her talent was the result of hard work, persistence and being in the right place at the right moment: she moved to Milan after finishing her studies in Zurich.
Italy helped Lamm shape her distinctive style of graphic communication. She was influenced by the Milanese experimentation of the time and incorporated this into her Swiss design education. Big brands, such as La Rinascente, Pirelli or Olivetti, gave her the opportunity and freedom to develop and explore new routes. This is made apparent by looking at the wide range of typography she used throughout her work, changing every time.
Nowadays, working as a designer for a company means adhering to a brand, and thus to its guidelines, which results into a restricted set of rules with little space for spontaneity. But in post-war Milan, with its progressive and intellectual attitude and a booming economy, companies were establishing advertising and design departments and therefore opening their brands to experimentation. Lora Lamm, as with many other designers of the moment, made the most of that environment. She understood advertising is much more than just selling a product; it is mutual recognition between brand and public. It is also a dialogue, and she engaged – she still engages – in it with one very simple tool: proximity.
The optimist and unaffected style of her designs is what makes of Lora Lamm a pioneering woman. She was an adventurous girl in the midst of a male-dominated creative atmosphere and her work is a personal and very particular reflection of the design revolution that was taking place at the time.
Through her playful illustrations she winks at us, and we can only but smile back.
Lora Lamm, La moda si diffonde con - la Rinascente, ca. 1960 - Collezione: Museum für Gestaltung Zurigo, MfGZ
Lora Lamm, Pirelli, ca. 1960 - Collezione: Museum für Gestaltung Zurigo, MfGZ