Graphic Design: Modernism
Graphic Design: Modernism
Modernism is a term that has been in use in the world of art for a long time. In historical arts, it refers to the period dating roughly from 1850 to 1965, as well as to the style that was popular during that era. The term “modern” can also be used to refer to artworks created in modern times. Thus, it is clear that the word is used retrospectively to refer to a certain trend that emerged back in the nineteenth century. The term “modernism” has also been used in art to refer to a wide array of subjects, such as religion, music, as well as architecture, and they all relate to changes present during these eras. Among the ones that took place during the pre-historic era, there was individuality in the creativity of artists, designers, and similar architects. There were discoveries and inventions, as well as a developing sense of shaking off all influences of the traditions and embracing new trends of the “modern world”. It marked the beginning of a new way of life that was termed “modern” (Crisp 2012, p. 76). There were many modernists, who represented their visions. One of the most famous was Jan Tschichold. He was the most influential and outstanding typographer of the twentieth century. Typography is the manipulation of our visuals using printed or digital media. Generally, it gets an insight into some basic issues, for example, how texts function to enhance clarity in a project. Typography cultivates skills necessary for visual communication. The aspect of modernism can be seen in the paintings of typographer Jan.
Jan Tschichold was born on the second of April, 1902 in the small town of Leipzig. He was the first-born son of scriptwriter Franz Tschichold and his wife Maria. The fact that his father was engaged in such a field resulted in his involvement of Jan in the world of written scripts. He was always there to help his father, while the latter was working on his scripts, but did not know what the future had prepared for him. From a tender age, he wanted to become a painter, but his father discouraged him, and Tschichold ended up becoming a drawing teacher. Jan started his teaching career at the age of fourteen, immediately after finishing his schooling. He was a grammar teacher.
During his free time, Jan could study the books of Edward Johnston and Rudolf von Larisch. These inspired him to proceed and write several calligraphic writings. He developed a great interest in old typefaces, and some of his manuscripts were drafted in the seventeenth century. For a person of his age, this was quite a noteworthy feat. Later on, Jan dropped his teaching career and entered the Academy of Graphic Arts, which furthered his interests in typography. He also learned a lot of other skills, such as wood engraving, woodcutting, as well as bookbinding. He could be commissioned to design advertisements for companies and trade fairs in the town of Leipzig (Remington & Bodenstedt 2003, p. 46-50). One such artwork done by Jan was the design of Penguin Books back in 1947. He had just emigrated from Switzerland to Britain due to a job opportunity at the Penguin Books Company. Jan realized that there the standards were lower than the ones he was used to meet while working in Switzerland. These books were the most commercially sold in Great Britain at that time. Before the arrival of Jan to the company, paperbacks were printed without specific attention to such details as the design or criteria of production. Tschichold stepped in and redesigned book covers. This move is considered to have revolutionized the global typographic conventions. All these changes were known as Penguin Composition Rules, which set standards for all publications by Penguin (Purvis & Coultre 2003, p. 36).
These standards held that text composition should be closely word-spaced, due to feasible and wide spaces should be strictly avoided. The major punctuation marks should be followed by equal spacing throughout the whole text. Indents should be omitted in the first part of a paragraph in any text. The first word should be capital, but if this is done for any reason, then it should be letter-spaced in the same way as the running title is. Concerning punctuation marks, they can be done by putting thin spaces before question marks, colons, and exclamation marks. Amid initials and names, and after all abbreviations, a smaller space between words of other lines is used (Levenson 2011, p. 98).
Parentheses are strictly used for explanation, as well as interpolations, and brackets are used for notes. As far as capitals, italics, and small capitals are concerned, a capitalized word should be adequately spaced. Small capitals are used for running heads and on the page of contents. Running headlines should consist of the title of the volume on a left-hand page and contents on a right-hand one. Italics are to be used for explaining foreign words or phrases, and for the titles of newspapers and plays as well. If the definite article is used, it should be printed in Roman, unless it is part of the title. In bibliographies, the names of the authors are given in small capital letters, and the titles of books are printed in italics (Cramsie 2010, p. 46).
Either ranging or hanging figures may be used if they are cut in the fount. One footnote in references may be assigned an asterisk. If it is more than one, then superior figures are used preceded by a small space. Footnotes should also be set two points smaller than the whole text. The equal leading between all lines of footnotes should be effectively used and be similar to the one in the text. For the numbering of footnotes, figures are used followed by a full point, not forgetting an en quad. They can run throughout a chapter or the whole book.
Now, the document is sixty-year-old, but it is still as fresh and relevant as it has been before. These settings are still in effect up till nowadays. They are the ones that govern typing and printing in the twenty-first century. Tschichold laid particular emphasis on balance, flush headlines, and underlying grids in his works. He also made use of certain layouts that enhanced balance, structure, and stress. In his book New Typography, Jan responded to disorders that existed in European typography in the early years. Consequently, functionality and rationality were of prime importance. Jan emphasized that typography should be perfect communication achievable by skills. That is why he stressed a particular layout in the design of the work of art.
With the use of machines, like computers, in typography, it is justifiable to say that Jan has contributed greatly to their modern design. It is owed to the development of his ideas into globally accepted and acknowledged modes of art. It is a great achievement indeed. Jan is a pioneer in the typography industry and his contributions are the ones that cannot be shelved and forgotten, due to people using them every day. They are in newspapers, books, websites, almost every work of art, and the rules of Jan Tschichold (Palacio & Vit 2003, p. 101).