Before ‘Bauhaus’ was a movement, it was a house. Well, actually it was a school. (Maybe today we would consider it a Hippie school with all of the emphasis on unity, but really, these guys were some serious forward-thinkers.) It was founded in 1919 in a city called Weimar by a German architect named Walter Gropius. The Bauhaus combined the mastery of fine arts with design education, Gropius’ original intent was to achieve unification of the arts through crafts, and as he states so artistically in The Proclamation of The Bauhaus: “Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.”
However, within a few years the emphasis moved toward designing for mass production and the school then adopted the slogan “Art into Industry.” That’s not to say they turned their backs on Gropius’ original intentions, however. The school included specializations in multiple art forms.
The cabinet-making workshop was one of the most popular, and students there did much more than make cabinets– they looked at furniture at it’s very essence and sought to redesign and refine how we think they should look and feel.
In the textile workshop students were encouraged to experiment and explore new materials including cellophane and fiberglass. There they created abstract materials that were used, in some cases, as art in The Bauhaus building.
Metalworking was also quite popular. While there
weren’t many women in the program, there was one, and she not only existed as a female-representative in the male-dominated field, but actually was quite successful with designs that are iconic of the Bauhaus metalworking.
Marianne Brandt’s metallic tea-bearer did everything that a used would expect it to– it poured the tea, it was well-balanced– but it also showed the influence of the Bauhaus movement with it’s simplistic styling of geometric shapes, where the object is it’s own decoration.
The Typography workshop became more important under the leadership of figures such as Moholi-Nagy and Herbert Bayer, the designer of the typeface on the left.
The Bauhaus typography, with it’s experiments in combining communication and expression, caused uproar among critics of the time, but it’s bold, simplistic and clean style is still influencing design today. (Take for example my decision to use this influence in my poster project.)
The Bauhaus changed hands a couple times in the following years and eventually closed down before the beginning of WWII due to financial hardships (and maybe the fact that a war was about to break out..). Many of the previous faculty of the school moved to the United States and continued to teach in their fields at various Universities around the country. Moholy-Nagy continued the official school in Chicago, opening the New Bauhaus in 1937.
So much history. On to the present.
I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to use dynamic diagonal lines and make an object (a bike) using shapes, which I think is fairly successful in my poster. I tried to keep the type in column-like spacing so that it was almost just like some more shapes, but I’m not sure I was quite as successful there. Much of Bauhaus design used reds, blues, yellows and blacks, so I knew I wanted to use those. Choosing typefaces is usually my favorite part of any design, but I had some trouble with this one. I wanted include the classic Bauhaus type face, but most that I found were pretty wide of character which makes it seem more like display type and not so much the best to use for giving information. I ended up using a nice wide one for the main title and a slimmer Bauhaus-y type for the secondary type. Still not sure if they look weird together.
I ended up doing everything in Illustrator and it wasn’t so bad. For a poster, my first thought would have been to use InDesign, but Illustrator worked out well and it was good to get even more familiar with it. I started out just shaping the bike out of circles and lines and some pen-tooled shapes to make the handlebars and seat.
I already see things that I would change–the text with the website doesn’t mesh with the style of the other text since it’s horizontal and just off by itself, the front tire is a bit crowded by shapes and lines– but alas, another learning experience.
This post is wildly late. I’ll be happy to have any credit for it at all.