Herbert Bayer

Herbert Bayer

Herbert Bayer was a very influential student and teacher, designing many printed materials and advertising graphics for the bauhaus. He worked in a wide range of design fields, producing many paintings, sculptures and graphics as well as typography and architecture.

At age 28, Bayer’s large amount of works were more significant and remarkable than most desginers entire life times of artwork. He taught at the bauhaus, teaching the first classes on typography, while also working as an art director for theDorland advertising agency in Berlin, and designing many advertisements, graphics and fonts for vogue Magazine in Paris. He left the bauhaus in 1928, and worked as an architect in both Germany and America.

 Bayer designed the ‘Universal’ typeface, used in the Bauhaus building signage in Dessau [1925]

Influential Works

1924 Exhibit138_411_zahncreme_messestand_01.

While he was still a student at the Bauhaus, Herbert Bayer designed a collage for a trade fair stand for a tooth paste manufacturer, ‘Regina’, in 1924[1]. The use of a photograph with the smoke and loud speaker, demonstrates the multimedia aspect of advertising which was a highly progressive concept at the time. He collaged using opaque paint, charcoal, coloured ink and pencil.

The Regina kiosk is positioned at an angle, in contrast to the many frontal views of buildings. The corners of the kiosk point at the four cardinal directions, and the rotated cube appears to be pointing like an arrow towards the viewer.

The ‘Regina’ design contains much of what later made Bayer famous; Not just by his montage technique, but by his unusual use of photography in the collage. Herbert Bayer didn’t start to incorporate photography into his art until 1925, when he married photographer and Bauhaus student Irene Hecht. This was the same year he began to work on the ‘Universal’ typeface.

Evident in all the designs from 1924 is the influence of the Dutch ‘De Stiil’ movement, whose concepts were propagated by weimar between 1921-1923. He used the strong colour contrasts and symmetry and asymmetry which were defining characteristics of the De Stiil movement.

These designs do not only have the same style, but they are also based on architecture (pavilions,kiosks and small buildings). Bayer references the momumental trade stands that were common at the time. In all these designs the idea of advertisement overpowers everything else, such as sensible architectural proportions, and gives emphasis  on the modernism aspect, through the right angles, deliberate use of asymmetry, typography ,and absence of decoration. Bayer’s experimentations were referred to as ‘advertising with extremes’-Baumhoff, Anja [http://bauhaus-online.de/en/atlas/werke/design-for-trade-fair-stand-of-a-toothpaste-producer].












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