Monday, August 3, 2015

Fonts matter for your Business Lighted Sign

Fonts matter for your Lighted Business Signs
With Tschichold, one of the chief activists in the New Typography was the Dadaist Kurt Schwitters. From his house in Hanover he launched a one-man movement with its own journal, Merz, whose first issue appeared in January 1923. The fourth, in July that year, before the Bauhaus exhibition, printed Lissitzky's 'Topography of Typography', a set of seven principles which began 'Words on the printed sheet are seen, not heard.' Schwitters produced a stream of advertisements and a prospectus with a contribution by Lissitzky for his own advertising agency, which opened in 1924. Merz no. 11 was devoted to publicity for Gunther Wagner, the Hanover firm making stationery supplies and artists' materials under the Pelikan trade name.

The pages of Merz were laid out according to the precepts of the New Typography, with sans-serif type and the page broken by heavy rules, and contained Sch witters's own typographic programme, the important principle being 'Do it in a way no one has ever done it before.' He used this approach in attempts to reform the alphabet, where his was the most radical contribution to the new movement: his Systemschrift made the letters 'optophonetic', with a separate sign for each sound. It remained undeveloped but ele­ments appeared in Schwitters's hand-drawn posters of that year.
Despite his idiosyncratic approach, Schwitters was an organizer and propagandist, visiting and corresponding with artists and designers and lecturing in Germany and abroad (collaborating w ith his Dutch coun­terpart, Theo van Doesburg. This activity resulted in the formation of a small group, the Ring neuer Werbegestalter (Circle of New Advertising Designers). By 1930 it consisted of twelve members, including two Dutch designers, Schuitema and Zwart.
Schwitters organized many exhibitions for the Ring, inviting guest contributors. Among these were also the leading figures of the avant-garde in central Europe. Ladislav Sutnar was a graphics specialist as well as an industrial designer. He was propagandist for Druztevni prace (Cooperative Work), an organization whose publications promoted a Modernist outlook, and was director of the State School for Graphic Arts in Prague from 1932 to 1939. Karel, also based in Prague, was first a painter and then moved to photomontage and typography.
business lighted sign
He was the­orist of the Devetsil group, whose magazines and almanacs he designed using the resources of the printer's type case. (Similar magazines repre­sented the avant-garde in Yugoslavia, Zenit from Belgrade and Tank from Zagreb.) The third Eastern European designer exhibited by Schwitters was the Hungarian Lajos Kassak, designer of the magazine MA. The first Ring exhibition took place at the Cologne Kunst-gewerbemuseum in March 1928, one of a number of exhibitions and pub­lic statements by its members that set out the aims of the new techniques of visual design.
In 1927 the conventional columns of the Frankfurter Zeitung, set in Fraktur type, were interrupted by blocks of sans serif. These were illus­trations to an article on the front page, 'What is new Typography?' by Walter Dexel. It was a simple explanation along the Bauhaus lines of Moholy-Nagy, but took exception to some of the Bauhaus mannerisms, particularly the use of rules – 'modern gestures' which interfered with » legibility – and even geometrical ornament, which Dexel thought no bet- | ter than Victorian vignettes. He also deplored Moholy-Nagy's lines of type set at an angle.
By profession Dexel was an art historian. He was both exhibition organizer and designer at the Jena Kunstverein, the municipal art gallery, for whose invitation cards (sometimes cut up and collaged as posters) he devised an increasingly standardized application of sans-serif type and an occasional horizontal rule. Unlike his contem­poraries, he solved the problem of upper- and lower-case by using cap­ital letters exclusively. His publicity for a photographic exhibition of contemporary photography in Magdeburg in 1929 was one of the purest expressions of the New Typography. Nonetheless, it was unusual in allowing the hand-drawn lettering to form the image, its black-and-white, positive-negative reversal signifying the photographic process.
Dexel's most significant contribution was in the design of illuminat­ed street signs and kiosks in Jena and also in Frankfurt, where design was an important civic issue. The city had its own magazine devoted to planning and design, Das neue Frankfurt, with covers designed by Hans and Crete Leistikow and later by Willi Baumeister; it had a supplement designed by Johannes Canis, Das Frankfurter Register, a catalogue of products selected for their quality and appearance. Baumeister's design work for the Werkbund exhibition Die Wohnung (The Home) in 1927 was remarkable in several ways.
It was an early example of the overall graph­ic design of a large enterprise being the responsibility of a single design­er. Baumeister designed the stationery, a variety of leaflets, guides and a catalogue, and made huge cut-out letters for the display area. Like Dexel, he used only capital, sans-serif letters. Baumeister was also com­missioned to design a postage stamp, which he did using printer's type material, including the drawing of a modern house. His red and black poster was produced in different sizes and with two differing images of old-fashioned interiors.
These were photographs, half-obscured by a painted diagonal cross and the written question lWie wohnenT (How to Live?). It perfectly exemplifies Baumeister's belief that typography is inherently to do with movement of the eye and, for this reason, the essen­tially static, symmetrical arrangement is inappropriate. It demonstrates, too, Moholy-Nagy's dictum that the new typography must be 'Com­munication in its most intense form' and his insistence on 'absolute clar­ity'. Nothing could be clearer than the didactic crossing out of the attraction of the public, but the image is only given meaning by the word 'Werbung' (publicity) which it illustrates.
Designers taught themselves photography, the medium approved by all the manifestos. Published at the Bauhaus, Moholy-Nagy's Malerei, Fotografie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film) discussed the role of pho­tography in graphics, which he described as 'Typophoto': Typography is communication composed in type. Photography is the visual presentation of what can be optically apprehended.
Typophoto is the visually most exact rendering of communication…

Photography is highly effective when used as typographical material. It may appear as illustration beside the words, or in the form of'phototext' in place of words, as a precise form of representation so objective as to permit no individual interpretation.

The year 1929 saw several events that endorsed the interest in pho­tography. Tschichold, with Franz Roh, published a selection of inter­national photography, foto-auge (photo-eye). Here designers were strongly represented among the pioneers, as they were in exhibitions such as the Werkbund's 'Film und Foto' (1929) in Stuttgart. Among the organizers was Werner Graeff, who used the idea of'phototext' in a book published for the exhibition, Es kommt der neue Fotograf(Here comes the New Photographer!), where images broke the text, even mid-sentence, to make a continuous argument.
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