Moholy-Nagy and the New Typography: A-Z
The 1920s in Germany witnessed a revolution in visual communication, typography, and graphic design that still influences us today.
In 1929, Hungarian avant-garde artist and Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy was invited to design a room dedicated to the future of typography at the Martin-Gropius Bau in Berlin as part of a larger exhibition called New Typography ("Neue Typographie").
The exhibition was organized by the Ring of New Advertising Designers ("ring neue werbegestalter"), a group started by Kurt Schwitters in 1927 which consisted of 12 avant-garde designers and artists who explored a common vision of modernity in advertising and graphic design. In five years, the Ring put on over 20 shows in Germany and invited a number of guest artists to exhibit with them.
Moholy-Nagy's room in the New Typography show was called "Where is Typography Headed?" He created 78 wall charts illustrating the development of the “New Typography” since the turn of the century and extrapolating its possible future. To create these charts, he not only used his own designs but also included prints by colleagues associated with the Bauhaus.
The movement initiated by the “New Typography” exhibition, functional graphic design, broke with tradition and established a new practice of design based on artistic criteria. It aimed to achieve a modern look with standardized typefaces, industrial DIN norms, and adherence to such ideals as legibility, lucidity, and straightforwardness, in line with the key principles of constructivist art.
Moholy-Nagy's original New Typography charts are reproduced together in this book for the first time, along with an Abecedarium of terms and concepts by a roster of noted typography and design historians. Contributors include Peter Biľak, Günter Karl Bose, Gerda Breuer, Steven Heller, Richard Hollis, Annette Ludwig, Ellen Lupton, Julia Meer, Erik Spiekermann, and many more.
The book features recently discovered, previously unpublished archival materials by Moholy-Nagy from the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin, as well as work by Guillaume Apollinaire, F.T. Marinetti, Theo van Doesburg, Herbert Bayer, Walter Dexel, and El Lissitzky.
Published concurrently with an exhibition at the Staatliche Kunstbibliothek in Berlin.
Edited by Petra Eisele, Isabel Naegele, and Michael Lailach
Published by Verlag Kettler, 2019
Hardcover, 256 pages, 9.6 × 11.9 inches