Thursday, October 20, 2016

Die Neue Typographie (the power of the strikingly asymmetrical)

Jan Tschichold, Die Frau ohne Namen, Offset lithograph (1927)


Modernist style of typography was perhaps most immediately recognizable in a multitude of graphic communications: posters, brochures, books, handbills, and letterheads. 



what you see here is a classical symmetrical arrangement coming straight from a combination of cubist, futurist, and dadaist typographic collage images. they evolved into the more disciplined, yet decidedly revolutionary, asymmetrical style known as Die Neue Typographie (New Typography). new typography style was quickly adopted in other centers of avant-garde activity, including holland, hungary, czechoslovakia, and poland, and was finally codified into a total revision of the rules of traditional commercial layout. 

the basics of the style were defended by lissitzky, lászló moholy-nagy, paul renner, and its most devout (and rigid) adherent, jan tschichold. to these young designers the rules of the old typography, practiced since the age of Gutenberg, violated the criterion of fitness for purpose in design. 

1- photography replaced realistic, decorative, or otherwise sentimentalized illustration. 2- photomontage, a completely mechanistic means of illustration, became an effective propaganda weapon and the most popular tool of the new graphic design. 3- when 1. and 2. are used together we get what is called "asymmetrical typography," that is to say, a geometric layout with photographic illustrations, which defined modernist design.