‘Zero’ Hans Schleger (1898-1976)

Working with Edward Johnson’s special typeface created for London Transport, Hans Schleger – or Zero as he signed himself – adopted the famous roundel used by London Underground for use at Bus Stops. Born in Germany, Schleger was an influential graphic designer. After serving during the First World War, he studied at the Berlin Kunstgewerbeschule, being taught by Emil Orlik. The same year Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus at Weimar and Schleger learned the same principles of breaking down the barriers between architecture, design, fine art and craft. A firm believer in the Bauhaus principles of simplicity in design and reduction to essentials, these may be seen in the clean lines of the roundel.
In 1924 he moved to New York, applying Modernism to American advertising, and then returned to Berlin in 1929 working for the British advertising agency Crawfords, where he met Edward McKnight Kauffer who introduced him to Jack Beddington the head of advertising at Shell Mex BP. Following the rise of Hitler he emigrated to London where he produced a series of posters for Shell Mex. During World War 2 he worked for the British Government. In 1950 he taught at the Chicago Institute of Design which had been founded by Moholy-Nagy, thus bringing him back to his Bauhaus origins.
Subsequently he designed the trademarks of John Lewis Partnership, Penguin, Deutsche Bank and the Edinburgh Festival.


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