Transition to Modernsim

Category: Education

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A History of Graphic Design The Genesis of 20th Century Design

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A History of Graphic Design Transitional period from Art Nouveau to Modernism At the turn of the century designers and artists were looking for new forms of expression. Art Nouveau introduced the idea that new forms could be found rather than revitalizing old themes. The potential of reductive and abstract drawing and design has only just started. Changing social, economic and cultural conditions in the early part of the 20th century are driven by concerns of war and coming to terms with mass commercialization.

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12-03 12-03 The Glasgow School The Glasglow School in Scotland was a key piece in bridging the gap between the fluidity of the Art Nouveau style and the geometric precision of Modernism. They started with the fluid Art Nouveau lines, but gave it more structure. Forms are not floating around a twining mass of color and vines. Their forms are constructed into the space and the space is built around the forms.

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12-03 This new style coming out of the Glasglow School in the mid 1890s was a result of the partnership of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, James Herbert McNair, and the sisters Margaret and Frances Macdonald; this group was also known as “The Four”. They formed a creative alliance which produced innovative graphic and decorative art and designs. They took inspiration from Scottish traditions and blended them with the flourish of Art Nouveau and the simplicity of Japanese forms. The Glasgow School Such was the nature of their collaboration, that although much of their work has survived, it is difficult to tell which of “The Four” to attribute with specific works.

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12-06 The partnership produced metalwork, graphics, type faces, a series of book illustrations, production panels for interiors and furniture, notably for The Tea Room and The Hill House. The Glasgow School

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12-32 12-32 Peter Behrens was self taught and started as a painter with subjects of poor people, industrial landscapes and social realism. He went to new Darmstadt artist’s colony in 1899 where he began to design rooms, houses, furniture and books. He was invited to join ten other people to create the Deutscher Werkbund which was an Arts & Crafts school, though it had more modern purposes. They were willing to create for industry, and had an aim to change social structure from class divided society to an egaletarian mass society. Peter Behrens, 1868-1940 12-34 This book by Behrens from 1900 was the very first book ever written with sans serif typeface used as the running text.

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12-40 12-40 Peter Behrens In early 1900 Behrens brought forth a theory of “New Objectivity” which was discussed as the fusing of art and life together. In order for art to be ‘objective’ the hand of the artists had to be removed. Without the personality or expressionistic style of the individual artist, the designs could be more universal. Connotations of wealth and social class could be stripped away. This was the beginning roots of the theory that “form follows function”. Which means the form, or visual shapes and styles used, did not need added embellishments that had no use to the content. He advocated for removing ornamentation, using math and geometry as a universal construct for designs.

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12-42 12-42 Peter Behrens From 1922 to 1936 Peter Behrens was brought on as am artistic consultant by the AEG company (sort of a German version of GE). He designed the main factory building, the goods they were manufacturing and the marketing materials – he is thought of as the first industrial designer in history. Behrens was also the first to design a corporate identity. He identified the 3 key elements of a corporate identity still used today – 1) simple and memorable logo used consistently, 2) Typeface standards, 3) consistent layout of elements following a standard format.

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12-44 12-44 As an industrial designer, Behrens designed fans, teakettles, clocks, light fixtures*, etc. He brought a true marriage of art and technology for high quality design in manufactured goods. This teakettle design is the first manufacturing to use interchange- able parts – there were 216 different configurations possible. A customer could choose which handle or finish they wanted. Peter Behrens *Look at the light fixture lining the Midlothian campus – they are based on an original Behrens design.