Herbert Bayer / Graphic Design / About Design

Herbert Bayer – bauhaus style

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The life path of Herbert Bayer is closely related to the direction of the Bauhaus. Even when he was still a student, he already took part in the development of the Bauhaus movement. A few years after graduation, Herbert became one of the main representatives of this project.


Herbert Bayer was born in 1900 in Austria in a village near Salzburg. When Bayer was 19 years old, he began working with the artist George Schmidthammer. In his workshop, he studied skill and created posters and posters.

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Germany and work at Bauhaus

At the age of 20, Herbert Bayer moved to Germany and began working in the workshop of an architect from Vienna, Emmanuel Margold. During the period of work in his workshop, Bayer most of the time worked in the style of Artnouveau. But soon he became interested in the work of artists, designers and architects who worked in the style of Bauhaus. From 1921 to 1925, he studied at the Bauhaus school under Johannes Iten, Oscar Schlemer and Wassily Kandinsky.

In 1925, Walter Gropius instructed him to stand in the Bauhaus head of the studio of printing and advertising. In the late 1920s, Bayer decided to try himself as a bauhaus design and worked on the creation of magazine covers. Working in a minimalist style, Herbert managed to fit organically into the world of glossy magazines. In 1928, he retired from his post in Bauhaus and in 1928 became the art director of the German edition of Vogue magazine.

In 1936, he designed a brochure for Deutschland Ausstellung for an exhibition for tourists in Berlin during the Olympic Games. This pamphlet celebrated life in the Third Reich and the power of Hitler, so in 1937 Bayer’s works were included in the Nazi propaganda exhibition “Degenerate Art”, after which he left Germany.

In 1938, Herbert Bayer emigrated to the United States, spending the rest of his life here. He continued to work in the style of Bauhaus and subsequently greatly expanded the boundaries of his work.

Creating a Universal Font

One of the most significant works of Bayer to this day is the famous Universal font. This font is the exact embodiment of all the ideas of the Bauhaus direction. This is a combination of functionality, simplicity and nothing superfluous.

There are no upper case in the font, this is its main feature. Herbert Bayer considered it inexpedient to use two alphabets in one font. Universal typefaces are based on primitive geometric shapes, as in most Bauhaus-style works. Wanting to simplify the font, Bayer removed serifs from it. He believed that the lack of uppercase and lowercase letters should reduce the work time and make it easier for those who write and type, since the need to press Shift is lost. Herbert Bayer was confident that this font would reduce the cost of commercial printing by saving on paper consumption.

It is well known that all supporters of the direction of Bauhaus sided with Bayer and since 1925 have not used capital letters in their works. However, Universal stile didn’t find support among the broad masses, and the German also government didn’t like it. The reason for this is quite clear – in German, nouns are written with capital letters, and to undermine the centuries-old linguistic traditions turned out to be simply unbearable. But in the United States Bayer’s font was greeted with enthusiasm.

Creative development of Herbert Bayer bauhaus as a designer and photographer

Since the mid-1920s, Herbert Bayer has been using photography as an element in the design of printed products for the Bauhaus School. The cover of the first edition of the magazine Bauhaus has become very famous.

On the cover I want to reflect the contents of the magazine without words. Connect the basic and symbolic elements that play an important role in the Bauhaus system with the tools of the artist. First, the montage is done, i.e., mixing, “assemblage” of various elements, then this whole is removed on film.

Herbert Bayer said

In the 30s, Bayer actively developed in photography, it became his main way of self-expression in art.

Tireless and talented, he did not make standard and boring portraits and still lifes, working in a surrealistic direction. Herbert boldly experimented with pictures of the human body, offering the public something of a kind of surrealistic still-life.

Long career of Herbert Bayer

Throughout his long career, Herbert Bayer held at least 150 solo exhibitions, and his art has been the subject of much research. Today, Bayer works are stored in more than 40 museums in Europe and America, as well as in many private collections. A considerable number of books and articles are devoted to his work.

Robert O. Anderson, Herbert Bayer’s american friend, founded the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), where was located his personal art collection. Herbert acted as a consultant in art and design, and under his leadership ARCO became the largest corporate collection of works of art in the world. He also led the construction of ARCO Plaza in Los Angeles and created his corporate identity. In addition, at the request of Anderson, Bayer designed the monumental sculpture fountain Double Ascension for ARCO Plaza.

Herbert Bayer designed the Creek Canyon Plant Excavation Works, an environmental sculpture located in Kent, Washington and in 1979 was elected a man of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

All the works of Herbert Bayer connects the display of the needs of the industrial age and the personification of the avant-garde mood of that period.

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