Jan Tschichold, “The Principles of the New Typography” pg35-38, Karl Gerstner, Designing Programmes pg55-61, Joseph Muller-Brockman, “Grid and Design Philosophy” pg62-63 from Graphic Design Theory: Readings From the Field by Helen Armstrong.
  • How do each of these designers/authors think you should approach design?
  • Include an example of contemporary typography/layout that embodies each of these three design systems or philosophies. And explain why!

After reading through all 3 texts, Tschichold, Brockman, and Gerstner all have their own views on how a designer should approach design and solve design-related problems. For Tschichold, his belief was stemmed in abolishing the old, center-aligned, symmetrical type treatments and moving on to more asymmetrical yet easily legible type treatments. His vision of “New Typography” pushed designers to consider the functionality of typography through more simple and legible typefaces rather than relying on ornate typefaces and center-aligned designs. He believed that designers should create a standardized method of type that remains objective and readable to the general public. Gerstner used a mixture of his scientific and fine arts experience to create the “International Typographic Style”. This style utilized a device called programmes which allowed a designer to narrow down certain elements and design around particular problems to come up with various different solutions. Gerstner believed that the designer should turn the creative process into an “act of selection”, choosing the best elements of a solution and combining them until they find the best outcome. Brockman believed in grid-based design solutions. He believed that a designer should use precise mathematical measurements and that their designs should be objective and contribute to the general culture by helping to shape its tastes and opinions toward color and form. 

This is an example of Tsichchold’s belief of asymmetrical typography being used in a book cover. While the title is center-aligned, the design of the title is asymmetrical and the spacing between certain letters draws the eye from left to right. Despiste its asymmetry, it isn’t chaotic and it remains easily readable.

This is an example of Gerstner’s International Typographical Style being used in a museum ad. While the logo of the museum uses the same typeface, the weight and style of it is changed. This changes the view of the museum as a whole with the more oblique texts giving a feeling of movement and the bolder ones giving it a sense of importance.

This is an example of Brockman’s theory of grid-based design being used in a contemporary orchestra poster. This one literally has a graph in the poster that is utilized to hold the text within it. The use of a grid  paired with the asymmetrical typography and varying font weights allows for easy readability and objectivity.

Hypothesis Annotations

  1. Asymmetry is the rhythmic expression of functional design.
  2. The old typography did the opposite: it recognized only one basic form, the central-axis arrangement, but allowed all possible and impossible construc-tion elements (typefaces, ornaments, etc.).
  3. It is obvious that functional design means the abolition of the “ornamentation” that has reigned for centuries. . . .
  4. The creative process is to be reduced to an act of selection.
  5. To describe the problem is part of the solution.
  6. Not all the solutions were found with the aid of the morphological box. But all those found can be assigned to a place in it and analyzed.
  7. His work should thus be a contribution to general culture and itself form part of it.
  8. Constructivist design that is capable of analysis and reproduction can influence and enhance the taste of a society and the way it conceives forms and colors.
  9. Working with the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity.