Was born in Basel, Switzerland and has lived in Barcelona since 1961. He studied design and typography at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule Basel.
In 1957 he worked for the Will Burtin studio of Visual Research and Design, and for the Ulrich Franzen studio of architecture, both in New York. Later he joined the Geigy Chemical Corporation in New York and Montreal, Canada.
In 1961 he moved to Barcelona as art director at Geigy S.A. That same year he was invited to teach design at Elisava, the first design school created in Spain.
In 1966, together with Luis Marquesan and Paco Casamajó, he formed the Barcelona Grupo Publicitario (Barcelona Advertising Group). Ana Alavedra was part of the team and since then has remained in close collaboration with Yves Zimmermann.
In 1968 he set up his own studio.
In 1970-1971 he became a member of the council of the ADI-FAD (Association of Industrial Designers of the Fomentation of Decorative Arts). He was also member of the organizing committee of the ICSID 1971 Congress in Ibiza, Spain.
In 1975 he teamed up with with André Ricard, industrial designer, and together they created Integral Design.
In 1975 Yves Zimmermann proposed the edition of books on design to the publisher Gustavo Gili, as at that point there were no reference books on this profession. However, Gustavo Gili preferred to embrace a wider range of topics to begin with, and they created the Visual Communication Collection with an advisory committee for the collection formed by Ramón Gubern, Tomas Llorens, Albert Rafols Casamada, Ignasi Sola-Morales, Yves Zimmermann. The books published in this collection embraced a variety of subjects such as cinema, architecture, design, aesthetics, art, semiotics, visual communication, etc.
By 1979 it was clear which books were the most popular and thence Gustavo Gili started the GG Design collection and invited Yves Zimmermann to be responsible. The collection is still in force to this day and is distributed throughout the Spanishspeaking world.
In 1978 he participates with André Ricard and other colleagues in the foundation of ADP, a professional designers association.
In 1988 Yves Zimmermann and Ana Alavedra create Zimmermann Associates and specialize in corporate identity projects and packaging design.
Between 2008 and 2009 Yves Zimmermann and André Ricard organized, together with the NGO Design for the World, and with the collaboration of designers from all over the world, the design of the push-pull pictogram to indicate in which way a door opens.
At present Yves Zimmermann is the editor of Las Islas (The Islands) collection of books at Ellago Ediciones.