The collections of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich are of international importance. The museum is the sole institution in Switzerland that, from 1875 onwards, has collected posters, graphic design, and objects that represent quotidian design alongside more artistically ambitious exemplars of the design culture. The four collections—Poster Collection, Design Collection, Applied Art Collection and Graphics Collection—boast a number of significant works from the history of aesthetic and technical development of the industrialized age.
What was originally a collection of models, teaching materials, and manuals for craft and design education, the museum developed over the years into the distinct areas of the collection, which culminated in 1987 with the establishment of the Design Collection. In addition to the international presence in exhibitions and research projects, the collections serve in the study of design solutions, materials, techniques, and styles within the Zurich University of the Art.
The collections are seen as an integrative facility connecting practice and theory, art and industry, production and reception. The goals and methods of collecting as well as the standards of restoration and conservation are subject to continuous examination and are regularly adapted to meet current needs.