Hans Eduard Meier

Hans Eduard Meier (* 30 December 1922 in Horgen; † 15 July 2014) was a Swiss typographer and type designer best known for the Syntax typeface he designed.


After attending primary and secondary school, Meier completed an apprenticeship as a typesetter in Horgen from 1939 to 1942. He then attended the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts from 1943 to 1945. In the first semester he attended the typesetting class with Karl Sternbauer. This was followed by two semesters in the typography class with Alfred Willimann. He completed his studies with the one-semester preliminary course and the consecutive one-semester specialist class for graphics with Ernst Keller. After graduating, he first worked as a graphic artist for the monthly magazine "du" in Zurich from 1946 to 1948. This was followed by a period as a graphic artist (including at UNESCO) in Paris. In 1950 he returned to his former training centre, the Zurich School of Applied Arts, as a specialist teacher for lettering and drawing and taught there until his retirement in 1986.

Parallel to this activity, he also took on freelance commissions for industry from 1950 onwards. He also created posters for the Tonhalle Zurich and the Kunsthaus Zurich. From 1978 onwards, he gave numerous lectures on the subject of type in New York, Providence, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Montreal, Mainz, Zurich, Basel, Glarus, Leipzig, Stuttgart and Weimar. In addition, he was a lecturer in "Type Design on the Computer" at the Institute for Computer Systems at the ETH Zurich from 1984 to 1992. Meier was also still a lecturer in type design on the computer in the Visual Design department at the Zurich School of Art and Design, now the Zurich University of the Arts. From 2013 he lived and worked in his native town of Horgen again.


In 1959, his trilingual textbook Die Schriftentwicklung (The Development of Type) was published, which went into its eleventh edition in 1994. In over sixty handwritten examples, Meier vividly demonstrated the development of Western typefaces from Greek lapidary to sans-serif linear.

Between 1954 and 1972, Meier developed Syntax, one of the world's most important sans serif antiqua typefaces. The first drafts were made between 1954 and 1959, followed by the final artwork in 1964. After a long and close collaboration with the type foundry D. Stempel AG, the first typefaces for hand-setting were published in 1968. By 1972, the adaptation for phototypesetting on Linotype machines followed. In 1989, the first digitisation took place, followed in 1997 by a second digitisation and the expansion into a typeface (1992: Syntax Letter, 1995: Syntax Lapidar; 1999: Syntax Serif and 2001 Syntax Lapidar Serif).

His collaboration with the Institute for Computer Systems resulted in the typefaces Barbedor (1984), Syndor (1986), Oberon (1992) and Elysa (2002). In addition, he developed the SNB alphabet in 1994 and the ABC script in 2002, which was developed as a Swiss school script for the lowest school levels and is intended to make it easier for children to learn to write.

However, some designs, e.g. the Roman typeface developed in 1969, Classica in 1970 and Gestickte Antiqua in 2004, were never realised.


  • My typeface lessons in the preliminary course at the Schule für Gestaltung in Zurich: Beiträge zur Ausbildung in Schrift. In: Typografische Monatsblätter. No. 4/1991.
  • Type design with the help of the computer. Basic typographic rules. ETH Zurich, 1993, issue 204.
  • The Development of Type. The Development of Script and Type. Le développement des caractères. Syntax Press, Cham 1994, ISBN 3-9520646-0-2.
  • Guide to a contemporary school script for all those learning to write: a book for teachers and exercise books for learners. Fridolin-Digitaldruck, Glarus 2003. (See also: website schulschrift.ch)

Typefaces designed by Hans Eduard Meier:

  • Syntax - conceived between 1955 and 1964, metal cast by Stempel AG between 1968 and 1972, digitalized by Adobe in 1984, also released as Bitstream Humanist 531.
  • Barbedor - 1984.
  • ITC Syndor - 1986, International Typeface Corporation.
  • Letter (Syntax Letter) - 1992, Linotype.
  • Oberon - 1992.
  • SNB-Alphabet -1994, for the Swiss Bank.
  • Lapidar (Syntax Lapidar) - 1995, Linotype.
  • LTSyntax - 1997, Linotype.
  • Syntax Serif - 1999, Linotype.
  • ABC-Schulschrift - for Swiss school primers, 2001–2008.
  • Elysa - 2002, Elsner+Flake.
  • Gesta Antiqua - 2004, Elsner+Flake
  • Meier Kapitalis - 2012–2014, Elsner+Flake


  • Linotype Syntax won the Type Directors Club Type Design Competition award in the year 2000 under the text or display type systems category.
  • Bitstream Humanist 531 Cyrillic won awards at the type design contests bukva:raz!, and Kyrillitsa'99, under the text category.


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Graphic Design
Hans Eduard Meier
International Style
International Typographic Style
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This page was last changed on 2021-09-22.