History of Graphic Design: Hutchings
April 5th, 2015
Effects of the Bauhaus
“The artist is an exalted craftsman. In rare moments of inspiration, transcending his conscious will, the grace of heaven may cause his work to blossom into art. But proficiency in his craft is essential to every artist. Therein lies the prime source of creative imagination.” — The Bauhaus Manifesto
After the Industrial Revolution it was apparent that the new technological advancements were going to continue transforming the world. Avant-garde art movements continued to break away from traditional standards as the world endured political catastrophe. Art movements such as Futurism, Dada, and Constructivism act as visual proof of the climactic changes that endured during the 20th century. However, one of the most influential art movements of this era was the Bauhaus. Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, it was originally a school in Weimar Germany. The Bauhaus ideal was to solve problems of visual design through the unity of art and technology. “It was hoped that the artistically trained designer could breathe a soul into the dead product of the machine and justify multiplication by industry.”1 Gropius was aware of the high degree of technological advancements and understood this created opportunity to produce a mass appeal of goods and products.
Fig. 1 | Johannes Auerbach
First Bauhaus Seal 1919
Fig. 2 | Oscar Schlemmer Later Bauhaus Seal 1922
Similar to that of the previous avant-garde styles, the Bauhaus is characterized by the use of sans-serif fonts. In 1925, typography artist Herbert Bayer was commissioned by Walter Gropius to create the Universal typeface. Each letter was designed with clean geometric proportions so as not to need a letter for both lower and uppercase. Comparable to previous techniques, Bauhaus layouts maintained a high degree of white space and used asymmetrical layouts, integrating vertical and horizontal typographic elements.
The Bauhaus style has made a strong impact on the history of design and design education. The focus of the school was on industrial design and architecture but also concentrated on photography, graphic design, and fine art. During this time, the Bauhaus demonstrated a strong degree of individuality. It questioned the concept of modernization by how it could be mastered by means of design.2
Design education was also highly influenced by Bauhaus. Gropius believed that uniting the artist and the craftsman would create an orchestral cooperation, bridging together the two universally creative ventures. In his article Walter Gropius’s Philosophy of Art Education, James Daichendt quotes Gropius, “The idea of a fundamental unity underlying all branches of design was my guiding inspiration in founding the Bauhaus.”3 Walter Gropius envisioned a modernized team of builders that would transcend their previous roles to collaborate on remaking the world.
Progressively, technology continued to advance along with the concept of modern design. The Bauhaus has made an enormous impact on how the contemporary designers produce their work today. Being one of the founding art styles that integrated technology, Bauhaus is an inspiration to the creative world. Similar to the views of Gropius, contemporary designer Michael Varderbyl believes that design is much more than a career path, and is truly a way of life. Formulating his design style from the admiration of his own design heroes, he is strongly influenced by those from the Bauhaus era.4 Varderbyl is a man of many mediums. He specializes in graphic, interior, product, textile, and web design, and believes that each discipline informs the other. Similar to the integration of art and craft of the Bauhaus ear, Varderbyl fuses his different mediums together and transitions between them with ease.
The Bauhaus style is still integrated in today’s exhibits. In 2007 the Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (Mima) showcased several Bauhaus