Capital Magazine

In 1962, Karl Gerstner was commissioned by Adolf Theobald to design a quarterly magazine titled Capital, that attempted to make economics accessible to the common man while creating a magazine that is appealing to the business sector. The magazine sought to provide a “human view of economics, and an economic view of humanity” (Tochilovsky 1). Gerstner said he was the perfect man for the job because he had a limited understanding of economics and numbers. As he learned and began to understand economics, he would help other laypeople understand with him. To appeal to the general public the design needed to be orderly, clear, and pleasing to the eye, which is where Gerstner’s grids came in. He created a grid for Capital that was a square sub-divided into 58 rows and columns. Each was based on the size of a 10 point line of type. The grid could be divided into 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, rows and columns with would create different sized squares. The grid allowed for the flexibility the was desired for the design and was developed from the understanding of the project itself and the numbers, per the usual Gerstner ideology. The grid allowed for the creation of exciting and variable layouts that still felt coherent. On the covers (as seen in the featured image) Gerstner opted to not use a consistent logo on the cover. Instead he used repetition of the title that was different from issue to issue, but kept the overall look and cohesion of the magazine. Below is one of the spreads from the magazine. This graph is very eye catching because of its use of the red paper and the red paper shows through to create the rows and the grids. Overall, this project was very well received and innovative, while conveying the beauty and benefits of using the Swiss grid method to create continuity through design but also variability.





Bibliography (information and images) :

Tochilovsky, Alexander. “’Issue N°3 – Karl Gerstner’s Capital’ .” Flatfile, The Herb Lubalin Study Center, 3 Mar. 2016,

TypeRoom. “An Ode to the Pioneer of Typographic Brilliance Karl Gerstner.” TypeRoom, 2 July 2019,