Thursday, January 7, 2010

Die neue Typographie and et cetera

Happy 2010!

This year I actually have a few goals in mind. One of them being to further my self-education of all things graphic and web design related. Of course for some things I will have to invest in taking courses, but for others (such as historical information and theories) I've selected books, exhibitions, and internet research as my teachers. I spent the first day of this year at the MOMA. This could have been a very bad idea since the crowd I saw that day was more than ones I've seen at Union Square during morning rush hour. But, I was determined to see the Bauhaus exhibition and hopefully the Tim Burton one too. Unfortunately, Tim Burton was full, but to my surprise there was an exhibition about "The New Typography" on the 3rd floor.

Die Neue Typographie is Jan Tschichold's most recognized book. In his writings, Tschichold created accessible guidelines about modern typography and how it can be used more effectively for direct visual communication. His theory was that the viewer should be able to glance at a poster and understand the information within seconds. Tschichold's work is thought to have revolutionized typography from classicism to modernism during the 1920's to the 30's. He shifted page compositions away from symmetry to dynamic typeface treatments and compositions. Choosing to use stock fonts and commercial paper, Tschichold may have taken leads in Bauhaus theories, believing in the accessibility of design as well as efficient mass production.

After the election of Hitler in Germany, all designers were required to register with the Ministry of Culture. Those who took up teaching were thought to lean towards the Soviets and were not looked upon favorably. They were labeled as "Cultural Bolshevists." Due to the power of graphic design, a lot of printed material during this time were used for political propaganda. When
Tschichold took up a teaching post in Munich, he and his wife were arrested due to suspicion of collaboration with communists. During his arrest, propaganda posters for the Soviets were discovered in his home. All of his books and works were seized by the Gestapo. Luckily, a policeman snuck him and his family train tickets to Switzerland shortly after their arrest. They were able to escape Nazi Germany safely. Tschichold later worked designing for Penguin Books, and rejected his own writings about typographic modernism, opening up to classicism.

On a lighter note, I absolutely LOVE these fun razor wires and chains, also displayed on the 3rd floor at the MOMA. It sure beats what I have outside my Bushwick apartment.

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