All you need to know alias my presentation of Zèrò:
Hans Schleger was born in 1898, Kempen, Germany. He trained at the National School of Applied Art, Berlin (Kuntstgewerbeschule) between 1918 and 1921, at a time when the Bauhaus was making an impact. Between 1921 and 1924 Schleger was a publicity and set designer for Karl Hagenbeck. In 1924 he moved to New York, where he ‘contributed to the development of modern American advertising design’. He was an early contributor to the New Yorker and taught for a while at the Institute of Design, Chicago, Illinois. It was during this period that he adopted that pseudonym Zéró, having established his own Madison Avenue Studio in 1926.
In 1929 Schleger returned to Berlin, in 1932 he settled permanently in England, becoming naturalised in 1938. Opening his own studio, he was ‘mainly concerned with the establishment of an organic design and advertising policy for British industrial concerns, including the British Sugar Corporation, Fisons, MacFisheries, Finmar, the John Lewis Partnership and others’. Schleger also helped familiarise the public with modernistic graphic design. He was an early proponent of the concept of ‘corporate identity’, refining the famous London Transport ‘Circle-and-bar’ symbol for use as the bus stop symbol.
Schleger’s inter-war work had included the design of many posters, and his work, particularly from the Second World War, ‘was distinguished by wit and innovative techniques like photomontage’. During the Second World War Schleger designed many posters for London Transport, the Ministry of Food and the GPO. Schleger believed that his work not only required a professional approach, but had ‘international and social influence’. He did not accept the limitations of wartime shortages and insisted on the highest standards. In 1946 Schleger designed and contributed to the influential text The Practice of Design. Art and Industry described the work of Schleger with his use of modern poster design. During the 1950’s and 1960’s Schleger pioneered corporate identity in Britain, both through collaboration with Mather and Crowther (advertising agency) and through Hans Schleger and Associates, founded in 1953. In 1959 he was appointed Royal Designer for Industry.
Major commissions by Schleger included the symbols for the Design Centre in Haymarket, London (1955), and the Edinburgh International Festival, designed 1966 (replaced 1978). Schleger lectured and exhibited widely, acting as a visiting lecturer to the Chelsea Polytechnic, the Central School of Arts and Crafts, the Royal College of Art, all in London, and the Regional College of Art, Manchester.