Peter was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1940. He graduated from the College of Design in Basel in 1959, served a four-year typesetting apprenticeship, and then went back to school and received his Masters Degree in TK in 1965. After a stint at the Geigy Pharmaceutical design studio in Switzerland, he emigrated to Montreal in 1968. He took a job as advertising production manager for Syntex Ltd, and then, in 1971 was invited to join the new Visual Communications design program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. This marked the beginning of a 29-year commitment to design education in Canada. His personal passion was typography, and helped establish a strong typography program at U of A. In 1985, he was instrumental in introducing computers to the program.
While at the U of A, he also maintained his own design practise, designing annual reports, posters, signage and logos for corporate clients. He designed books for University of Alberta Press, developed signage systems for U of A Hospital, Edmonton Space Sciences Centre, and gave lectures and workshops across North America. He established the Alberta Chapter of the GDC in 1972. In 1985, he started a small letterpress business called Press at Pilot Bay, in Kootenay Bay, BC.
Since his retirement from the Uo f A in 2000, he now splits his time between Cincinnati (where his wife, Jane Merks, teaches graphic design) and British Columbia interior, where he produces limited edition artists’ books and prints through his letterpress business.