We were split into groups of four to develop and present a project on a chosen topic, based on one of the following titles:
- Bauhaus and the New Typography
- Design Systems for the Olympic Games
- The Influence of Modern Art
- The Modern Movement in America
- Pioneers of Postmodern Graphic Design
- Pioneers of Web / Digital Design
Our group chose the first topic, Bauhaus and the New Typography. We decided between us what research we would do, and communicated through voice call over Blackboard. We also set up a group chat so it would be easier to contact each other quickly.
We decided that we would split the presentation into two parts: History of the Bauhaus, and Artists & Designers of the Bauhaus.
My research focused on the artists László Moholy-Nagy and Johannes Itten, who were two of the teachers at the Bauhaus school.
László Moholy-Nagy was a Hungarian painter, photographer and professor. In 1913, he left for Budapest, where he began to study Law. With the war hitting just around the corner, he joined the Austro-Hungarian army. He was wounded in battle, and during his recovery in the military hospital, he began his first sketches, and his spark to become an artist was ignited.
In the midst of the 1910s, European artists were becoming more and more passionate about creating art that was useful to their society, and the phrase “art for art’s sake” was thrown out the window. Artists were beginning to create art that had more personal and political meaning. Moholy-Nagy began working with geometric shapes and lines. His style was influenced by Suprematism, Russian Constructivism and Dada. After moving to Berlin after the war, he became influenced by the artists and the growing movements there, such as the avant-garde figures Malevich and Van Doesburg. He took resources and inspiration from industrialism, and modern technology in the main city of Germany at the time.
By 1921, he was using no references for his paintings. Instead, he had turned to exploring colour, shape, space, light and transparency. His artwork became much more liberated and free, something telling of his own inner thoughts and ideas. In 1923, Moholy-Nagy was asked to teach at the Weimar Bauhaus, where his passion for the avant-garde was allowed to fully flourish. He picked up an interest in typography, and was able to blend his passion for photography with his artwork, creating many photomontage works. This concept of combining both photography and typography was the basis of what modern graphic design is built upon even today.
In 1923, he and a couple of other artists published an article which defined the ‘New Typography’. It pushed the notion that “typography is an instrument of communication and must be as clear and effective as possible.”
These are a few of his artworks:
Johannes Itten was a Swiss expressionist artist and teacher at the Bauhaus school. His work was heavily inspired by Adolf Hölzel, an abstract painter at the time. Using Hölzel’s influence, Itten began to use a series of basic shapes – which were, the point, the line and the plane – as a means from which to begin each piece of work. He was a big believer in mysticism, and applied complex colour theories to his work which drew on both science and emotion. He later went on to produce a book, entitled ‘The Art of Colour.’ In this book, he stated – “he who wants to become a master of colour must see, feel, and experience each individual colour in its many endless combinations with all other colours.”
These are a few of Itten’s artworks:
During his time teaching at the Bauhaus, Itten went on to develop the “preliminary course,” which was designed to teach students the basics and beginnings of composition and colour.
We wanted the presentation to be reminiscent of the topic we were discussing – the Bauhaus. To do so, we decided to use geometric shapes to decorate the background of the slides. We decided to go with primary colours as the main colour scheme of the powerpoint design, as this felt very simple and to-the-point, and went well with the images we would be presenting.
Here is the link to our completed presentation, complete with notes at the bottom of each slide:
Pauline and Kyle were able to give our group some helpful feedback we had given our presentation. They really liked what we had come up with, and talked about, saying it was very informative and detailed. One criticism they had is that the presentation ran on an extra five minutes than it should have, so just to be more careful with timings of our presentations, and maybe go over them and rehearse them so we have a better understanding of what we can cut out.