Karl Gerstner was a typographer, designer, and self-taught artist. Much of his time he lived and worked in Hippolskirch (Alsace-Lorraine, France), but Basel (Switzerland) was his main location. He was also an excellent writer on topics of design and art.
Gerstner was part of the second wave of Swiss typography. He studied under Emil Ruder and Armin Hofmann. Hofmann proceeded Ruder as head of the graphic design department at the Basel School of Design. His education thus took place during a highly noted creative movement in Typography.
In 1959 Gerstner met Markus Kutter to start an agency specializing in graphic design and advertising. In 1962, Paul Gredinger joint the two and their agency became Gerstner, Gredinger, and Kutter(GGK). Before long, the agency became one of the largest internationally acclaimed advertising firms in Switzerland and, later, Germany.
Turning to a more solo career Gerstner continued to design corporate identities for such companies as Swiss Air, Burda, Langenscheidt, and IBM. He was also know as international corporate identity consultant.