lettering typography

Bauhaus & Bayer

Herbert Bayer was head of the typography workshop at the Bauhaus from 1925 to 1928. He was prominent in dropping the use of capital letters from the alphabet used at the institution, as shown by the illustrations here. The first is his design for a ‘universal type’ of 1926: “Like modern machines, architecture and the cinema,” he wrote, “so too must type be an expression of our exact times.” Nevertheless, his designs were made for hand-setting.

Compare the 1926 version to this dated 1925 (taken from 20th century Type by Lewis Blackwell, 1998) which shows some differences, especially in the form of the g. Note how the m and w are simply reversals and the x like a circle cut in half.

Bayer worked in New York from 1938 and was influential in advertising circles. He died in 1985 in Santa Barbara. (Source: bauhaus, 1919-1933, published benedikt taschen, 1990.) PS – for those in London or visiting London there is an exhibition at the Barbican until August 12, 2012. Visit this link.

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