Bruno Gaeng Poster 1971 1974 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival
Bruno Gaeng © DR

1971, 1974 & 1975


It was a rare bird that heralded the fourth international Montreux Jazz Festival: part dove, part saxophone, part trophy and part Trojan Horse, smuggling in musicians (Frank Zappa and Freddy Below) rather than warriors. Cosmopolitanism and friendship between peoples were the order of the day, as illustrated by the flags of nations represented in the Festival programme, which can be seen emerging from the trumpet horn. This black and white poster was designed by Bruno Gaeng, Roger Bornand’s partner in the Montreux-based B+G & Partners advertising agency. Gaeng became the agency’s creative director, while Bornand took on the role of commercial director. It was B+G & Partners who came up with the famous tagline for the magazine L’Hebdo, “Bon pour la tête” (“Good for the head”).


Bruno Gaeng was commissioned to create a second poster in 1974, and produced this watercolour painting of a guitar propping up a whole host of other attractions in the Montreux area. The ad man’s design leans on the language of tourism rather than the jazz aesthetic, with the word Montreux appearing on the poster in big letters like a theme park sign. This was also the first time a Swiss flag had featured on a Festival poster. It is a design that recalls the importance of the Festival to tourism in Montreux and the Swiss Riviera.


Bruno Gaeng portrays the Festival as a children’s toy: a jack-in-the-box featuring a musical clown. He represents the Festival as event, disrupting and springing from the linearity of time that this black and white poster seeks to put in the spotlight, and representing the carnivalesque spirit of the crowd as an interruption in the details of the programme, which are set out like a gigantic menu. Text-heavy design was clearly popular in the 1970s. The Festival that year was held in the new casino, following the fire that inspired Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, and ran for nearly three weeks, longer than it had ever done before.