Monday, March 8, 2010

2:PENNY Typography: Josef Albers and the Bauhaus

Staatliches Bauhaus, more commonly known as Bauhaus, was the influential art and architecture school founded in Germany in 1919. Bauhaus became most influential on schools of thought in regard to typography, modern design, art, architecture and interior design.
With the belief that artistic forms should be united, practise crafts should be promoted, and all should contribute to a utopian whole.
Typography played a large role in the Bauhaus movement, with many important and famous typefaces finding their roots there: Kombinationsschrift (Joseph Albers), Futura (Paul Renner), Super Grotesk (Arno Drescher) and Universal (Herbert Bayer).

Bauhaus Master Instructors, 1926: From left, Josef Albers, Hinnerk Scheper, Georg Muche, László Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Vassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Gunta Stölzl and Oskar Schlemmer.

Bauhaus typography was typically unadorned and clean; san-serif types and strong horizontal
and vertical rules were characteristic. They believed: “Typography is an instrument of communication. It must present precise information in a suggestive form… For legibility, the message must never suffer from a priori aesthetics.”

The Architype Albers typeface, designed by Freda Sack and David Quay, is a revival of the typographic experimentation of Bauhaus Professor Josef Albers.
Albers produced sketches for geometrically constructed, universal, sans-serif, stencil typefaces the “Kombinationschrift” alphabets.

He used 10 basic shapes drawn on a grid in a size ratio of 1:3. It consisted of the perfect harmony of circles, squares and rectangles and their combinations, to write any letters or numbers. The system was simple, easy to learn, efficient, cheap for production and expressed purity, regularity and simplicity. The typeface was designed for use on posters and in large scale signs; it was never intended to be used for text.

Albers followed the theory of Die Neue Typographie, or "New Typography". Brought to the Bauhaus by László Moholy-Nagy and put to print by Jan Tschichold in his design manifesto; "New Typography" considered typography to be a medium for communication, and was concerned with the "clarity of the message in its most emphatic form". Albers also followed Herbert Bayer in his hypothesis; since speech does not recognize upper-case letters, they are unnecessary in type.

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