Christmas Typography task

Important influences to typography:

Early 20th Century       Mid 20th Century              Late 20th Century – 21st Century

Eric Gill                        Josef Müller Brockman     David Carson

Jan Tschichold            Wim Crouwel                     Jessica Hische

Berthold Wolpe            Herb Lubalin                     Marion Bantjes

                                     Margaret Calvert               Jonathan Barnbrook


EARLY 20TH CENTURY: Jan Tschichold


Tschichold claimed that he was one of the most powerful influences on 20th century typography- and none would disagree. 

 Tschichold began working with typography at a very early age as his father was a painter, trained in calligraphy. 

His emphasis on new typography and sans-serif typefaces was deemed a threat to the cultural heritage of Germany by the Nazis, whose thoughts about the traditional blackletter typography meant they seized much of his work and Jan had to flee to Switzerland. 

He however was very traditional and conservative with his beliefs in type; only supporting sans-serif types. He wrote books about this and how type and paper should be standardized and that there should be hierarchy within type. While the books are still relative today (Tschichold eventually returned to a classicist theory centring on roman typefaces.)

Abstract art came to play a large part in Tschichold's work in this book. He used geometrical elements and diagonal arrangements, not only in everyday jobbing printing – business cards, letterheads and brochures – but also in a series of cinema posters. Rarely in more than two colours, these designs incorporate small half-tone photographs, never rectangular, but cut-out as circles or silhouettes. The text, often hand-drawn, was always sans-serif.

In the words of his subscription leaflet, Tschichold was connecting the new typography to the "total complex of contemporary life".

The strict standards in the books aimed to free designers from traditional restrictions and move them beyond centered type and ornaments. He believed design should be clear and efficient—and that the tools of clarity were sans serif type, asymmetric compositions, photography, and white space.

“In addition to being more logical, asymmetry has the advantage that its complete appearance is far more optically effective than symmetry.”

However after he fled Germany ornaments began to appear in his work, as he understood that different projects called for different solutions.

He spent part of his career with Penguin Books and while he was there he developed a standardized practice for creating the covers for all of the books produced by Penguin. He oversaw the development of more than 500 books between the years 1947-49.

Every period of his career has left a lasting impression on how designers think about and use typography, and it will continue to affect them into the future.


These two images show Jan's love of simple and tradition type, using the conservative black type to enhance the simplicity of the aesthetic value to the pieces of work. The left image is also an example of his outstanding contribution to the penguin books, which is arguably why they are such a well known literary brand.

Tschichold is arguably most remembered in Britain for his postwar refashioning of Penguin, with their famous, horizontally banded covers – orange for fiction, green for crime, blue for biography.


Jan Tschichold shaped graphic design long after his own death.

 A Bauhaus exhibition in 1923 introduced him to CONSTRUCTIVISM, and he soon began incorporating modern elements into his traditional education in calligraphy. His photomontage posters for Munich movie theatre Pheobus Palast show the influence of Laszoy Moholy-Nagy and El Lissitzky.

In the exhibition catalogue, the Hungarian artist-designer-photographer Moholy-Nagy pronounced that "typography is communication through print" – in other words, that a message should not be forced into a preconceived aesthetic.


He was very confident of his own importance. On the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1972, he wrote his own tribute. It began: "Two men stand out as the most powerful influences on 20th-century typography: Stanley Morison, who died in 1967, and Jan Tschichold."


Mid 20th century: Herb Lubalin


Herb Lubalin entered Cooper Union at the age of seventeen, and quickly became entranced by the possibilities presented by typography as a communicative tool. Gertrude Snyder notes that during this period Lubalin was particularly struck by the differences in interpretation one could impose by changing from one typeface to another, always “fascinated by the look and sound of words as he expanded their message with typographic impact."


Most people recognize the name Herb Lubalin in association with the typeface Avant Garde.

And he was the typographer and designer behind its creation, after the success of Avant Garde Magazine and its typographic logo. But, his career spanned a much wider scope than that. One of the people behind the culture-shocking magazines Avant-Garde,he was a CONSTANT BOUNDRY BREAKER on both a visual and social level.

Part of the founding team of the International Typeface Corporation, it would have been hard to escape the reach of Herb during the 1960s and 70s.

His constant search for something new and a passion for inventiveness made him one of the most successful art directors of the 20th century.

Constantly working and achieving much success throughout his career, at the age of 59 he proclaimed "I have just completed my internship."


Coming to terms with Herb Lubalin's work takes you quickly to the heart of a very big subject: the theory of meaning and how meaning is communicated—how an idea is moved, full and resonant, from one mind to another.

Typography is the key to his work but, “typography” is not a word Lubalin thought should be applied to his work. “What I do is not really typography, which I think of as an essentially mechanical means of putting characters down on a page. It's designing with letters. Aaron Burns called it, 'typographics,' and since you've got to put a name on things to make them memorable, 'typographics' is as good a name for what I do as any.”

Lubalin was a brilliant, iconoclastic advertising art director—in the 1940s with Reiss Advertising and then for twenty years with Sudler and Hennessey.

Recipient of medal after medal, award after award, and in 1962 named Art Director of the Year by the National Society of Art Directors, he has also been a publication designer. He designed startling Eros in the early 60s, intellectually and visually astringent Fact in the mid-60s, lush and luscious Avant Garde late in the same decade, and founded U & lc in 1973 and saw it flourish into the 80s.

But it is Lubalin and his words, letters, pieces of letters, additions to letters, connections and combinations, and  manipulation of letters which is best.


Lubalin at his best delivers the shock of meaning through his typography-based design. (shown in Avant Garde, his magazine).

The shock of meaning, in Lubalin's artful hands, delivers delight, as well, delight that flows from sight and insight.

Lubalin praises Dorfsman, “used his extraordinary talent and taste to transform words and meaning from a medium to an inextricable part of the message? and in so doing, raised typography from the level of craft to art.” 

Herb Lubalin's unique contribution to our times goes well beyond design in much the same way that his typographic innovations go beyond the twenty-six letters.

As an agency art director, he pushed beyond the established norm of copy-driven advertising and added a new dimension.

As a publication designer, he pushed beyond the boundaries that constrained existing magazines—both in form and content. In fact, some said he had pushed beyond the boundaries of “good taste". Lubalin helped push back the boundaries of the impact and perception of design—from an ill-defined, narrowly recognized craft to a powerful communication medium that could put big, important ideas smack in the public eye.

And finally, he pushed back what were believed to be the boundaries of design for entire generations of designers who were to follow. For such a quiet, gentle person to have accomplished so much is testimony indeed to the power of ideas in the hands of a master


Late 20th century-Early 21st century: David Carson


Based in New York, born in Texas and became a designer in California. Carson started experimenting with graphic design during the mid 1980s. Not only a designer, in 1989 he has qualified as the 9th best surfer in the world. His interest in the world of surfing gave him the opportunities to experiment with design, working on several different publications related to the profession.Transworld Skateboarding, Beach Culture, How Magazine and RayGun were among the publications on which he worked. However, it was RayGun where he gained the most recognition and was able to share his design style, characterized by "DIRTY" type which adheres to none of the standard practices of typography and is often ILLEGBIBLE, with the widest audience. After the success of RayGun, and press from the New York Times and Newsweek, he formed his own studio. David Carson Design was founded in 1995 and is still home to Carson and his work .


Is a graphic designer and art director. his work for the magazines beach culture and ray gun in the 1990s brought a new approach to type and page design breaking with traditional layout systems. he continues to explore the possibilities of graphic design, particularly typography as a form of expression across print and video for both commercial and cultural clients. designboom spoke to david about his work and influences.

David Carson's boundary-breaking typography in the 1990s, in Ray Gun magazine and other pop-cult books, ushered in a new vision of type and page design breaking the traditional mould of type on a page and demanding fresh eyes from the reader. Squishing, smashing, slanting and enchanting the words on a layout, Carson made the point, over and over, that letters on a page are art.

Typography spun into a whirling end-of-century gyre in the 1990s, and David Carson was at its center. The incendiary pages of Ray Gun magazine inflamed the eyes and minds of countless young designers who sought to tap into the freedoms unlocked by his bold new style. Carson shaped everything in his path for his own purposes, endlessly contorting type, layout and grid into new configurations and abandoning design’s established truths of order and legibility. He represented a new breed of visual author.

His first book, with Lewis Blackwell and a foreword by David Byrne, is The End of Print, and he's written or collaborated on several others, including the magisterial Book of Probes, an exploration of the thinking of Marshall McLuhan. His latest book is Trek, a collection of his recent work.


"David Carson is the "grunge typographer" whose magazine Ray Gun helped explode the possibilities of text on a page."

this innovative, almost dirty looking type,i find very visually appealing and interesting as it defies everything I have been brought up to believe about traditional "clean" type and is something I have not seen before.


Carson's TED talk:

"You have to utilize who you are in your work. Nobody else can do that: nobody else can pull from your background, from your parents, your upbringing, your whole life experience."

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Once a teacher, Carson sort of fell into design workshops and took courses challenging him to manipulate designs.

The new tools and ideas in the 1990's through modernism, enabled the iterations and accidents that are crucial to experimental work. Carson explains, “It’s the basic decisions—images, cropping and appropriate font and design choices—that make design work, not having the ability to overlap or play with opacity.”

In 1995, Carson published a monograph called The End of Print. The title came from a comment made by British designer Neville Brody during a joint interview in London. Brody had said that Ray Gun represented “the end of print”; everything with type and design had been tried, so it was time to move on to a different medium. Print was spent. At the time, Carson didn’t fully agree with Brody’s comment, feeling that another magazine would soon ignite the collective passions of designers and readers.

Although Carson has produced everything from books and ad campaigns to videos, magazines were the crucible of his style. The big, cheap pages and open-ended seriality of the magazine offered an ideal arena for experimentation over time. His first gig as an art director was for Transworld Skateboarding (1984–1987), followed by Transworld Snowboarding and the surfing magazine, Beach Culture. When publisher Marvin Scott Jarrett launched Ray Gun in 1992, he invited Carson to be the founding art director—the magazine became more famous as a platform for Carson’s visual voice than for its music content.

From 1995 to 2003, Carson ran his own studio in New York City, working with diverse clients in the worlds of fashion, entertainment and beyond, including Nike, Toyota, Quiksilver and MTV. Since then, he has served in a variety of positions, including creative director for the Bose Corporation. His legendary disregard for readerly conventions has made him a hero to some and an agent of ugliness to others.

Carson forged graphic design into a cultural force and a medium with its own shape and direction. Although design swims in the stream of commerce, it lives there, in Carson’s work, as its own strange animal.



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