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“Everyone sitting on a chair with a tubular steel frame, using an adjustable reading lamp, or living in a house partly or entirely constructed from frefabricated elements is benefiting from a revolution in design largely brought about by the Bauhaus.” (Whitford p.10, The Bauhaus: Masters and Students by Themselves. Coran Octopus 1992)
Typography: Germany had long used a heavy Gothic font that for the most part was difficult to read and was complicated to use. Naturally the Bauhaus favored a simpler sans-serif font that was easier on the eye and was overall simpler. One professor at the Bauhaus in particular, Laszlo Moholy Nagy, took it upon himself to create a new typeface and font theory. He felt that typography is an instrument of communication and therefore must be clear. It was Nagy’s theory that inspired the simpler less formal fonts of the Bauhaus. This naturally irritated most Germans. But to their displeasure it looked like the Bauhaus was going to keep on running with these concepts when a student of Nagy’s, Herbert Bayer, came up with even more radical ideas. Bayer didn’t like serifs (the small lines that extend off letters in the Times or New York fonts, he found them totally unnecessary. The Bauhaus employed similar thoughts about the serifs and employed such a font for its publications. But Bayer had other ideas that right out dumfounded the regular German. He felt that the world should switch to one case, no upper or lower case, just one middle case. This way typing would be quicker and typewriters could be produced at a lower cost since no shifting mechanism would be required. In 1925 the Bauhaus stopped using capital letters in their printing but the rest of Germany saw this as an attack at tradition, this is understandable when considering how large a roll capitals play in German grammar. Overall the Bauhaus did not have as large an impact on typography as it did elsewhere but the ideas lead to further innovation in typography and that wouldn’t have come about without the willingness to experiment by the Bauhaus.
Links to pages with relation to Bauhaus typography:
Bauhaus influenced typeface by Herbert Bayer
Transportation poster by Moholy-Nagy
Photography: The Hungarian Bauhaus professor Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was the first one to experiment with photography at the school. There was no photography program at the school until 1929 after Nagyy had left. The program was headed by Hannes Meyer. But Nagy was the founder of experimental photography at the. He felt strongly that the past “rules” of photography and composition needed to be left behind and photographers needed to focus on using light to make an image. Also the idea of perspective and movement was altered with the use of planes, trains and cars. Artificial light also increased the opportunities one had to take photos. Photograms were an image is formed by placing objects directly onto light sensitive paper and exposing it to a light source. There was also work done in cooperation with the typography department where graphics and photography could be seen as one medium.
For example of photographs by Bauhaus artists check out these links:
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy - Lux Feininger - Lazlo Moholy-Nagy
Charleston on the Bauhaus Roof, 1927. Lux Feininger -- Page of Lazlo Moholy-Nagy’s works