Other name Zéró
Born Kempen, Germany
Died London, England
Graphic designer Hans Schleger was born in Kempen, Germany. He trained in Berlin (1918–21) and was then employed as a publicity and film set designer for Karl Hagenbeck. In 1924 he moved to New York, where he worked in advertising, first as a freelance designer and then as an art director. He was an early contributor to the New Yorker and visiting Associate Professor at the Institute of Design, Chicago. In the USA he began working under the name Zéró, and established his own studio in 1926. In 1929 he returned to Berlin. In 1932 he emigrated to England and was naturalised in 1938. He opened his own studio and with Edward McKnight Kauffer, introduced the public to modern graphic design and the concept of ‘corporate identity’, refining the famous London Transport ‘bull’s-eye’ icon into the bus stop symbol. During the Second World War, he designed many posters for London Transport, the Ministry of Food and the GPO. In 1946 he contributed to the influential publication The Practice of Design and in 1959 was appointed Royal Designer for Industry. He held many lecturing posts. Solo exhibitions of his work were held in London, New York and Chicago. His work is held in collections including London (London Transport Museum, Imperial War Museum).
Object type print
Materials and techniques lithography (technique)
Unframed 101.6 x 63.5 cm
Framed 115 x 76.4 cm
Acquisition Presented by Mrs Helen Draper 2016.
Accession number 2016-20
Display status On display in 'Refugees: The Lives of Others' until 4 June 2017
During the war, Schleger was commissioned by London Passenger Transport Board, the Ministry of Food and the General Post Office to produce information posters. His bold graphic style has affinities with German refugee John Heartfield’s photomontage, but this image also pays tribute to the fact that in Britain uniforms denoted service rather than oppression.
J. Black, 'Fathoming the British Temperament: Hans Schleger and the art of Poster Design c. 1935-45', in eds., R. Dickson & S. MacDougall, 'Forced Journeys: Artists in Exile in Britain c. 1933-45' (London: Ben Uri Gallery, 2009) pp. 74-79