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History of Graphic Art: Design Schools Case Study


There were three schools at the turn of the century (ab. 1895-­‐1933) that played vital roles in the evolution of graphic design and design education.

  1. Three main schools which influenced the development of graphic design and design education are Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, Bauhaus School in Germany, and Vienna School for the Applied Arts in Austria. The Arts and Crafts School does not belong to the list of the most influential art schools of the period.
  2. Glasgow School of Art in Scotland became the influential school at the turn of the century (1890-1910) because of the activity of such architects and designers as Charles Mackintosh, Herbert MacNair and Margaret and Frances McDonald which are known as the Glasgow Four, artists Henry and Hornel. All the representatives of the school followed the specific Glasgow style which was affected by the ideals of Art Nouveau. The designers reflected the organic forms and floral motifs in combination with the impact of Symbolism and the Japanese art. Moreover, they paid much attention to the organization of the space and details in their pictures and paintings1.

Bauhaus School became the significant art school after World War I, and the representatives of the school such as Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, and Rudolf Roch influenced by the effects of the revolutionary art proclaimed the main principles of the unity of art and handicraft, and later the accents were made on combining art and technology. These ideas were organized as the principles of functional design.

The artists and designers of Bauhaus School concentrated on the connection of typography and photography to broaden the boundaries of the art and machine production. Moreover, the representatives of the school focused on the integration of words and images in order to create the definite message and affect the public’s visual perception. Thus, the principles of gestalt were adopted in the art of Bauhaus School.

The activity of the representatives of Vienna School for the Applied Arts is often associated with the Vienna Secession Movement which was begun by Gustav Klimt. The artists and designers who belonged to the school, such as Moser and Hoffmann, rethought the principles of Art Nouveau and proposed their vision of art basing on the geometric style and division of spaces. The decorative elements were combined with the complex geometric figures in order to provide the whole modern picture of reality2.

Within the relevant chapters, development of photography was introduced and later, launched as a tool of design. Explain and discuss examples.

The development of photography was a continuous process which started in the 1830s. The persons who influenced the process and contributed to the improvement of technology were Daguerre who invented daguerreotype prints, Talbot who made specific photographic drawings, and Herschel who began to use the notion of ‘negative’. These people made it possible to use photographs as the device of graphic design. The first variants of cameras and pictures had a lot of limitations, but the produced photographs were used as the reflections of the real objects and facts which addressed the demands of the progressive public.

The photographs had the historical significance and were actively used in advertisements and magazines as the visual documentation. In 1865, Mathew Brady made the photograph of the former slaves “Freedmen on the Canal Bank at Richmond”, it was published and perceived by the public with the great interest because it reflected the real aspects of the social and political life and could be discussed as the evidence3. The real revolution was made by George Eastman who invented the Kodak camera because now many people could make the pictures of the natural objects and different events by themselves.

What is gestalt? Choose 1 poster from our selected chapters. Does the gestalt work? Is it successful? Do you get the message? Briefly discuss.

The notion of gestalt in art is associated with the activity of Bauhaus School. It is based on the peculiarities of the visual perception of the work by the public with accentuating such significant notions as closure, continuance, and similarity.

Thus, the work can be perceived as the whole with or without references to the details, and the concept of gestalt operates the perception of the art object as the whole with basing on the idea of closure4. Joost Schmidt developed the “Bauhaus Exhibition Poster” in 1923, and it can be discussed from the point of using the principles of gestalt.

The combination of the different forms, contrast colors, words and geometric figures makes people see the object as the whole without references to the details, realizing the principle of closure. The principle of continuance can be achieved with the help of the letters’ direction in the picture.

Looking at the poster, the public follows the direction of the letters. Moreover, gestalt works with the help of the composition which makes people perceive the object depicted as the definite technical or machine detail. This is the principle of similarity, and it accentuates the ideas of the Bauhaus School’s representatives in relation to the unity of the machines, technology, and art.

Bibliography

“Design and Composition: Gestalt”. 2D Design Notes. 2000.

Meggs, Philip B. and Alston W. Purvis. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

Footnotes

1 Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis, Meggs’ History of Graphic Design (USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2011).

2 Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis, Meggs’ History of Graphic Design.

3 Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis, Meggs’ History of Graphic Design.

4“Design and Composition: Gestalt”, 2D Design Notes, last modified December 2000.

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IvyPanda. (2020, April 21). History of Graphic Art: Design Schools. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-graphic-art-design-schools/

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IvyPanda. "History of Graphic Art: Design Schools." April 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-graphic-art-design-schools/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "History of Graphic Art: Design Schools." April 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-graphic-art-design-schools/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'History of Graphic Art: Design Schools'. 21 April.

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