Swiss Typography and Jan Tshichold

This week’s discussion was about Swiss Typography and Jan Tschichold. Swiss Typography was developed by Jan Tschichold in Switzerland in the early 1920’s. Tschichold was influenced mainly by the Soviet Constructivism, Russian Constructivism and the Bauhaus. You can tell Bauhaus was one of his influences as his style of was changed not long after a visit to an exhibition held at the Bauhaus. A lot of other famous designs were developed around this era that was seeing today such as Kellogg’s, Budweiser etc.

For this week’s Discussion we discussed what the influences of Jan Tschichold did to make him reject the traditional typography style at the time of his designs.

As a group we started to discuss how Tschichold’s style changed once he had attended the Bauhaus exhibition. We felt that Tschichold possibly took the Bauhaus style and tried to re-develop it into a style of his own creating something much more different. The principles of the Swiss Typography and Bauhaus were both very similar as they both wanted to create something well structured. As well as Bauhaus we also discussed how El Lizzitsky, a well-known Russian Constructivism Designer, was also a main influence for Tschichold, as when you compare the work of one another’s you can see how similar their work was, as they both used simple shapes and basic colours. Tschichold designed a variety of typeface that were legible for everyday use, he did this by cleaning up other existing typefaces that would be much more suitable for basic things such as signs and posters. All of the typefaces he created where mostly san serif bold and clear, and all these typefaces are referred to as Universal. We talked about the events that where happening at the time of Jan Tschichold’s designs. We discussed when he was arrested because his ideas were rejected for not being good enough and then later placed into a concentration camp, where he was shortly released from. We discussed that he then moved to Switzerland to get away from the war, and they weren’t involved in it therefore it being safer for him. During Tschichold’s time in Switzerland his typefaces he created became very popular and where even used by a few different companies. During this time Typography in designs also became very popular and a lot more companies started using typography in their designs, mainly due to the typefaces being so much more legible.

During our discussion we came to the point where we realised that Swiss Style Typography was the International Style, where we discussed that the Swiss style first started off in Switzerland were it was then quickly spread worldwide because of the popularity it was quirkily gaining. Swiss Typography slowly came to the UK when Tschichold moved to England and started working for Penguin Book, where he completely re-designed their books and set a layout that penguin then used for every single one of the their published books. Jan made a deal with the company once he had design the books and asked them to promise that they would keep the design, which has, to this day, stayed the same throughout the years of the re-design. in the late 50’s Swiss Typography was then Renamed as the International Style due to how big it became internationally. We went on to discuss what happened after the war and how design changed. We started talking about pop art that was soon introduced as a result of music and pop culture becoming massive influences to designers. We also talked about how we felt that the designs in this era where another development on what was already very popular at the time of the designs.

We then went on to think of what we had learnt in this discussion or what we felt was very useful to know. Where I said I felt that it was incredible how Jan Tschichold altered existing typefaces to something more illegible, and from this created a worldwide design cycle that many other designers and companies pick up on.

with the slideshow that i have inserted onto this page, it is image i found that where relatable to the Swiss Typography style, which i felt was very effective. i found 5 images that where relatable to the swiss typography style and from this it is clear that the style is very different to the others that i have looked at, as it is much more basic but interesting at the same time. again like Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism, they use a lot of red and white, this could be because they want to make it relatable to recent designs. I really like this Swiss Typography style and these pictures help express why it has become so inspirational.

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Overall i feel that Swiss Typography is very helpful and creative as it was something very different to what was happening back when it started. i really like the way that Jan Tschichold took the Bauhaus style but tried to re-develop it, as it helps make an old style much more modern and relatable to the target audience in today. I really like the style that Swiss typography use as, very much like Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism they use a strict colour pallet and keep a lot of their designs consistant. i feel that this style was very influential as it was an original design style, that had been re-developed.



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