"Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar 1919-1923" Book

Designer: Walter Gropius (German, Berlin 1883–1969 Boston, Massachusetts)

Designer: Herbert Bayer (American (born Austria), Haag 1900–1985 Montecito, California)

Date: 1923

Medium: Book-printed halftone, photographs and lithograph

Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 10 x 1 1/16 in. (24.8 x 25.4 x 2.7 cm)

Classification: Books

Credit Line: Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, 2001

Accession Number: 2001.392


Herbert Bayer's cover for the 1923 book Staatliches Bauhaus, Weimar, 1919-1923 is an example of Bauhaus experiments in typography, begun under the leadership of László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946). Moholy-Nagy himself contributed an essay on the subject to this volume, titled "The New Typography." At the Bauhaus, typography was conceived as both an empirical means of communication and an artistic expression, with visual clarity stressed above all. Bayer's design, made while he was still a student, employs to dramatic visual effect blocklike sans serif lettering in bright red and blue against a black background. Bayer manipulated the spacing of the letters so that each of the four lines of text is the same length. Hence, the title appears as a unified block of text, rather than individual words. The Bauhaus typography, with its letters stripped of all ornamental elements, initially caused an uproar among critics but had a far-reaching impact on the development of graphic design in the twentieth century.