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Siegfried Odermatt originally wanted to be a photographer and worked at a few photographic studios and advertising agencies before becoming inspired by graphic designers such as Max Huber. Self-taught, Odermatt opened his design studio in 1950, at the age of 24. Without the formal training from the Swiss design schools, Odermatt soon made his name with breaking the traditional rules, using
Tissi was trained at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, and soon joined a design consultancy in Winterthur - where she was expected to do little more than answer the telephone. This frustrated the young designer, who soon met with Odermatt and became his apprentice.
The approaches of the pair are also markedly different. They do work together in that one has responsibility for a project while the other critiques, but their work is not done together. Odermatt tends to keep his workspace tidy; Tissi, with a half-Italian, half-Swiss background, keeps hers disorganized.
However, the two think on the same plane,
They also have another factor in common: both judge their work not by the standards of the industry, but by their own. They are sensitive to commercial factors, of course, but like artists they have their own stylistic ideals. The work must express who they are as well as the aims of the client. Each project must appear new, but the jobs also have, Tissi claims, the soul of the designer within them.
The work is still done by traditional methods, without the use of a Macintosh in the studio. There is no mouse, thanks to the partners' pet, Michelle the cat.