Jan Tschichold, Karl Gerstner, and Muller Brockmann were all looking to perfect a universal system for design. Tschichold focused on clarity, Gerstner on function, and Brockmann on grids. Their ultimate goal was to create the perfect design system as functional as it was beautiful.
Tschold focused on clarity by eliminating ornamentation and implementing hierarchy in typography. Tschold was completely against old typography’s use of ornamentation because he believed that it valued form before function. He thought that all design should follow function in the same way it appeared in nature. For example, a monarch butterfly has eye shapes in its wings to protect against predators. The eyes are the form that follows its function of protection. He was against the old typography’s use of the “center axis” in design. He thought it was archaic and did not implement hierarchy in its system. Instead, one should focus and understand how the reader understands his work. The designer can manipulate the readers’ eyes by using a hierarchal structure.
Similarly, Gerstner also believed in the idea that form follows function. His solution to this theory was to create a mathematical grid system applicable to any design problem. He wanted to design as objectively as possible, a design that does not involve creativity but instead involves a selection process of his premade system.
Brockmann is similar to both Tschichold and Brockman.
He uses a grid system, but in his case, it’s not made to absolve creativity; it’s used as a system of organization. Like Gerstner, Brockman uses this grid to rationalize the design process, and identical to Tschichold uses the grid to create clarity in design.
In the past, the arts were only for the rich and primarily meant for art galleries. These designers wanted to bring design and art to everyday life, in order to improve the lives of the general public.
Typography and photography are meant to work hand in hand in order to improve communication. Lithography was a new invention at this time, which allowed typography to be manipulated outside of the linear format of the past. Typography was now able to literally be part of the images in texts. Language helps articulate the world we see and experience around us. When using Typography and photography together we are using language to communicate the images, it gives the designer two ways of articulating their creativity.
The artist should embrace future artforms while simultaneously learning about past artforms to be well-rounded designers. Similar to the method of Bauhaus teachings, art students should learn from craftsmen to be able to experiment more with design and advance design altogether.
All of these authors wanted to use design as a means to communicate their political beliefs to the masses. Both Lissitzky and Rodchenko were pro-soviet as Marinetti was pro-fascist. All three believed that technological advancement would help them spread their messages, whether it be through the internet or the printing press. They also embraced technological advances as they believed it would change how people would communicate for the better.
I believe that these authors wanted to influence society through design and new forms of communication. Rodchenko wanted to use design in order to help society, while Marinetti wanted to use design in order to make his radical fascist ideas more palatable. Marinetti is the most problematic of the three designers. He believed that war was necessary for the advancement of society, he felt it was a form of cleansing of the earth.
Design is art that is brought to our daily lives. Design makes fine art accessible to the general public. There was a time where art was only for the rich. Objects were created only for their functionality no design aesthetic was brought into the process of creating everyday objects.
Other occupations outside of design are used for their functionality. For example, an engineer can create a bicycle that is functional and does what it’s supposed to do, but a designer has the user experience in mind when creating. A designer has. to think about comfort, something that is aesthetically pleasing for it’s users, to create a bike that is much more than its function. Design elevates the experience of a user.
Designers have to think about unsolvable theoretical questions because designers have to know a little bit about many fields to create a successful product. A designer must understand their audience and in doing so understand the topic of their design. Since designers work in many fields often time simultaneously theoretical questions must be asked in order to better understand the product.
The most urgent problem designers face today is that of social design. Design that is made for the better of society, one that talks about humanitarian issues. Issues that are connected with the designer’s morals. Graphic design is becoming increasingly more about authorship where objectivity is no longer the main goal. Designers see themselves as artists and as such want to be vocal about their concerns through their art.