Bradbury Thompson

January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bradbury Thompson is one of the most important graphic designers of the twentieth century. He is recognized by the American design organization for his works: National Society of Art Directors of the Year Award (1950), AIGA Gold Medal Award (1975), Art Directors Hall of Fame (1977) In 1983, he received the Frederic W. Goudy Award from RIT.

He graduated from Washburn College in 1934 and then he worked for Capper Publications. This job gave him the chance to learn all the aspects of printing production. In 1938 he moved to New York and designed numerous porters, projects… for over sixty years. He was the art director at the Rogers-Kellogg-Stillson that was a printing firm and later on he worked at Mademoiselle magazine. He also consulted and designed for Westvaco Corporation, designed a new alphabet. Besides this busy schedule he, he also was a graphic design professor at Yale University where he worked for many years.

In his career he has many achievements. One of the most important of them all is his work called Wesvaco Inspirations that is a magazine published by Wesvaco Paper Corporation. This work is important because he got the opportunity to reach many typographers, print buyers and students. He had a talent of combining modernist typographic organization, classic typefaces and historic illustrations.

One of his other important works is The Washburn College Bible. This work is the most groundbreaking reconsideration of bible typography since Gutenberg’s own edition appeared in 1455.

His other area of interest was postage stamp design. He designed more than 90 stamps and at the same time he consulted with the U.S. Postal for the design of other stamps. His designs became iconic for the American culture.

“The art of typography, like architecture, is concerned with beauty and utility in contemporary terms… the typographic designer must present the arts and sciences of past centuries as well as those of today… And although he works with the graphics of past centuries, he must create in the spirit of his own time, showing in his designs an essential understanding rather than a labored copying of past masters.”


Gene Federico

January 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Gene Federico is a graphic designer and advertising director who had an important role in introducing a style of typography to American advertising. With what he did typography became an important element in American Advertising instead of being a supportive element.

He was one of the founders of Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein Inc., a New York advertising agency in year 1967. Later on he worked as its creative director, vice president and vice chairman. He was recognized for the groundbreaking combination of type and image. He used text as part of the picture to create visual metaphors. This was the trademark of American advertising’s ”Creative Revolution” in the late 50’s and 60’s.

In the late 30’s he was first a student in the secondary graphics group called the Art Squad at Abraham Lincoln High School. Later on he became a member of the 1939 graduating class at Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn. In these times the clever use of typographic elements in mass advertisements did not exist.

In America, at most agencies, cookie-cutter layouts were used in an unimaginative way. The art directors did not add creative elements to typographic elements. On the other hand in Europe, commercial artists’ posters of the same period were outstandingly artful and distinctly individual. However in America, designers’ names were rarely mentioned in agencies.

The European leaders, such as A. M. Cassandre and Lucian Bernhard, influenced Frederico and he finally became one of the contemporary advertising designers who developed a noticeably modernist approach to graphic design. Important elements of his designs were clean layout, asymmetrical composition and sans-serif typefaces, and these elements were combined with the union of word and picture. He used headlines to carry visual messages and used type to show sounds on the printed page.


December 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Adolphe Mouron Cassandre is a painter, commercial poster and type designer. He was born in Ukraine but his parents were French. Later on he moved to Paris and studies at “Ecole des Beaux-Arts” and Académie Julian. His posters were very well known and thanks to his posters he got the possibility to work for a Parisian printing house. He was inspired by cubism and surrealism and when he won the first prize in a poster-designing contest with his work called Woodcutter in 1925. With this contest he became more recognized.

Cassandre’s posters observe the new modes of luxury transport that describe the wealthy lifestyle of his day. He used stencils and an airbrush.

With this success any many other following he started his own advertising agency called Alliance Graphic by getting into a partnership. This agency was successful and had many clients in 1930s. His poster designs were outstanding for their original graphic solutions and indications to painters like Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso.

On the other hand, as well as his personal works and advertisement agency he was a graphic design professor at the École des Arts Décoratifs and then at the École d’Art Graphique.

He was also an important type designer and he knew the importance of typographic elements in poster design and because of that his agency created some new typeface styles. In 1929 he designed Biifur, in 1935 he designed the sans serif called Acier Noir and in 1937 he designed Peignot.

His works were exhibited in Museum of Modern art in New York in 1936 and this exhibition gave him the opportunity to design covers for Harper’s Bazaar.

He fought in World War II and during this period his business was gone. Because of that he had to design stages and costumes for theaters in order to make a living. After the war he also returned to his profession as a painter and did some easel painting. In 1963 he designed the Yves Saint-Laurent logo.

At the last years of his life he suffered from depression and committed suicide in 1968 in Paris.

“Designing a poster means solving a technical and commercial problem….in a language that can be understood by the common man.” Cassandre

Swiss Style

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Swiss style is also called as the International Typographic style. This graphic design appeared in Switzerland in 1950s. The most important characteristics of it are purity, readability and neutrality. There are many other characteristics of this style but they are all based on these three essential ones. The use of grid, having asymmetric layouts and the use of sans-serif typefaces stood out. Also in this style photography became more important than illustrations or drawings. I mentioned that this style is also called International Typographic Style. The reason for that is that the works done with this style had typography as the most important design element.

The Swiss style is also a continuation of Bauhaus principles and Tschicold’s New Typography.

The typefaces that gained importance are sans serifs such as Helvetica and Univers.

The texts were usually set in narrow columns left aligned with unjustified right. They wanted to create a more geometric and rational look and that’s why photography gained importance. Illustrations and drawings weren’t as compatible as photography with this rational geometric system. And the photographs that gained importance were mostly black and white ones.

Important graphic designers in this style are Ernst Keller, Theo Ballmer, Max Bill and Max Huber. These graphic designers are all known in other avant-garde movements such as De Stijl and constructivism.

This style was used in posters but the main goal was not to create posters with this style. Their aim was to promote this style with these posters.

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Eye Magazine

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is a magazine on subjects about graphic design and visual culture. It was first published in London and it is being published since 1990.

Rick Poynor founded the magazine and he is a writer on subjects such as graphic and visual communication design and typography. First he was a journalist on visual arts in Blueprint magazine. After that he was the editor of the magazine between the years 1990 and 1997. He is also a contributing editor of the magazine Print. He was also co-ordinater of the First Things First 2000 Manifesto.

Later on Max Brunisma became the second editor between the years 1997 and 1999. Since 1999 John L. Walters is the editor of the magazine.

Since it has been published it continues to treat important subjects and it has preserved its important place in the graphic design world.

Polish Poster Art

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Polish Poster Art started in 1968 and the first poster museum was opened in Warsaw. Before that the First international Poster Biennial was held in Poland. These two events are related to each other and they are both very important. At that time Poland was called as the center of “wall and” board art and it had such distinct characteristics that soon after these two events the Polish Poster Art became very important in the whole world.

Actually the Polish Poster School had emerged approximately twenty years ago in 1950s and its appearance is related to social realism. However it became much more thrilling. The most important person in Polish Poster School is Henryk Tomaszewski. Young artists dedicated themselves to this movement. Important artists in this school were Jozef Mroszczak, Wojciech Zamecznik, Jan Mlodozeniec, Waldemar Swierzy, Jan Lenica and Franciszek Starowieyski.

The politic environment at those times was an important factor in this art movement. Every possible union, mostly in the cultural ground, had posters painted the known artists of this movement. For many years there was no important public occasion without a poster. The posters became a component of mass culture. At the same time socialist governments used posters as propaganda by commissioning artists.

The success of Polish poster art had strong artistic fundamentals. However these fundamentals were not only due to the beneficial social conditions, they were also based on the talent of the artists that started this movement.

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Dada Manifesto by Hugo Ball

December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is a text written by Hugo Ball in 1916. This text explains the principles of the Dada movement. He explains that Dadaism is a new form of art; in fact it is anti-art. He explains that Dadaism is a movement that appears suddenly. This means that people don’t know about in one day but next day everyone starts talking about it because it has a huge impact between the artists and other people. The reason for this huge impact is that it is very different that the “art” known for years. It is against everything in art. The name of this movement is very simple. It has different meanings in different languages. At the beginning of the manifesto Hugo Ball explains these meanings. In French it means hobbyhorse, in German it means good-bye and in Romanian it means “yes, definitely right”. As it can be seen it is such a simple word for such an important movement and it’s meaning as a word is ordinary.

The use of such an ordinary and simple word also refers to not being captivated by the rules and norms in every aspect of life. This means that the simplification should be valid in every aspect such as the name of the movement. It also rejects the use of word invented by others; they want to use their own inventions of words.

They want to express themselves as they wish and it is only possible if they can be freed from using previously invented words, forms, and rhythms. They even question why a tree is called tree but not another word such as “Pluplusch”.

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