To say that the graphic design industry owes a lot to the movement of Bauhaus would be an understatement.
Due to modern design’s intricate combination of art and industry, the German school which persevered throughout a troubling time of political upheaval is owed a lot; leaving one of the biggest impacts on art, design and architecture in the 20th Century.
Founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius in the city of Weimar, Bauhaus’ core concept was to reimagine the material world in order to reflect the unity of all the arts. Gropius created a craft-based curriculum in order to give artisans and designers the ability to create beautiful, as well as useful, objects appropriate for his new system of living.
In 1925, the Bauhaus moved to Dessau, and Walter Gropius designed a new building in which the Bauhaus school would be located. This building contained new features which were to become marks of modernist architecture such as glass walls, steel construction and asymmetrical planning. The building was designed in order to achieve maximum efficiency and spatial logic.
Initially, the practical fields within type application were restricted to small printed matters. Moholy-Nagy became appointed in 1923, introducing new ideas about the use of typography to the Bauhaus movement. Nagy considered typography to be a used as a communications medium, and became concerned with the “clarity of the message in its most emphatic form.” Nagy created Typefoto — a combination of text and photography creating interrelated compositions of communication.
Joost Schmidt acquired a degree in painting in 1914, at the Großherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule (Grand Ducal Saxonian school of arts and crafts) in Weimar.
Herbert Bayer, an Austrian, was trained in the Art Nouveau style but later converted to the Bauhaus-Manifesto. Having studied at the Bauhaus for four years, passing his final exam, Bayer was appointed by Gropius to head the new printing and advertising workshop located in Dessau.
In 1925, Bayer was commissioned by Gropius to design a new typeface for all communications carried out by Bauhaus. Bayer used his approach to modern typography in order to create an idealistic typeface, resulting in the typeface “universal”. This is a simple geometric font in sans-serif form. Not only did Bayer find Serif fonts to be unnecessary, he felt that there was no need for uppercase and lowercase lettering. An aim to simplify typesetting and the typewriter keyboard layout were the basis of his rationale for this decision.
These ideals were later adopted by Jan Tschinchold, who despite not studying or working within Bauhaus often visited the teachers of the school. He was greatly influenced by the approach to typography Bauhaus adopted.