AIGA. Herbert J. Sanborn: MODERN ART INFLUENCES ON PRINTING DESIGN . Washington, D. C.: Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1956.

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Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts

Herbert J. Sanborn: MODERN ART INFLUENCES ON PRINTING DESIGN [AN EXHIBITION HELD IN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS FEBRUARY 13 – MAY 13, 1956]. Washington, D. C.: Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1956. Original edition. A near-fine minus staple-bound booklet with thick printed wrappers and minor shelf wear. Interior unmarked and very clean. Out-of-print.

7.25 x 10 staple-bound booklet with 16 pages and 23 black-and-white-text illustrations. Published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name: The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. [February 13 – May 13, 1956]. Sections include Art Influences, Experimental Typography, Futurism, Suprematism, De Stijl, Dadaism, Bauhaus, Abstract Expressionism and Free Form Graphic Design, Of Modern Type, and New Directions.

Artists and designers include Herbert Simpson, Bertram Goodhue, Guillaume Apollinaire, Giacomo Balla, Herbert Matter, Kasimir Malevich, Paul Rand, Piet Mondrian, F. T. Marinetti, El Lissitzky and Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Man Ray, Wassily Kandinsky, Herbert Bayer, and Hap Smith among others.

“Nothing is as fleeting as the ideas, inventions, and documents of advertising; nothing influences the everyday life of the second half of the twentieth century more intensively and extensively than the visual manifestations of publicity. But after months or weeks, days, sometimes even hours, ads, posters, prospectuses, TV commercials, or pamphlets have fulfilled their functions and are reduced to leftovers without any actual value. Even to the designer himself advertisements of yesterday have no more significance; automatically he turns to new undertakings.

“Therefore nothing is so much used as a matter of course, imitated and continuously developed as so-called graphic design. But the direct effect of advertising and the intensive and creative search for new forms of design behind it form an important contribution to industrial culture.

“Advertisements in daily papers or magazines, pamphlets, and posters are not works of art but designed communication media, even when they are designed by "artists," as they were in the artistic revival of the 1920s. The artists made a distinction in their work between the "purposeless" (i.e. "art") and the "useful" (i.e. "advertising"). The economic situation in Europe forced painters to handle the problems of advertising design. But advertising enabled them to present their new concepts of art to the public.

“When, for instance, the Constructivist painter Henryk Berlewi, after an extended stay in Berlin, founded an advertising agency called Reklame Mechano in his native Warsaw in 1924, he saw in it a means of breaking public resistance to new trends in art. "Advertising was not its real purpose," he has said. "I regarded it as a means of penetrating society with my then revolutionary ideas of new design."

“In the Twenties, in Germany especially, various avant-garde artists had their own graphic arts studios or executed designs for industry and public institutions in addition to their independent work and teaching. But it was never a question of personal aesthetics alone. Very early, painters took up new principles of design and created a systematic form of advertising art from its revolutionary beginnings. Typography, photography, and text were fused into a whole which presented an objective, clear, and easily understandable message to consumers, free from the personality of a particular artist.

“The combination of typography and photographs pioneered by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy under the term Typo-Foto advanced the concept of functional graphics in the decisive period between 1920 and 1930. Typography was liberated from the shackles of formality, and the photograph with its variations, photomontage and photogram, was discovered to be an effective means of realistic presentation of publicity. At the same time advertising was recognized as a necessary task of modern society, its function carefully examined, and its design "optically organized," to use the phrase coined by Willi Baumeister in 1930. The overall intention of the new design, said Mart Stam and El Lissitzky in 1925, was to put "the exact before the blurred, reality before imagination." — Eckhard Neumann, 1967