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international style volume i: modernist poetry

co ae vum

coaevum international style volume i: modernist poetry

Coaevum: archaic Latin derivative, “co-” meaning “in common” and “-aevum: meaning “age.”

No designer is an island. Coaevum strives to educate young designers on the value of interdisciplinary research within their ideating process. Design cannot be independent of the world, because effective design comes from knowledge of many disciplines and their needs. The volumes in this series are steps leading towards more literate communication.

Coaevum: Volume I seeks to demonstrate how International Design and Modernist Poetry enforce each other ideologically. Typographic form is a vehicle for meaning, just as language is a vehicle for poetic content. The International Style uses typography in an effective and concise manner; while Modern Poetry rejected traditional styles of writing for the sake of communicating an universal message of neutrality.

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table of contents 6




tenet one: universal

tenet two: innovative

Armin Hofmann William Carlos Williams

Emil Ruder E.E. Cummings




tenet three: complex

tenet four: minimal

tenet five: concise

Josef MĂźller-Brockmann Wallace Stevens

Gyorgy Kepes T.E. Hulme

Walter Herdeg Marianne Moore




tenet six: precise


credits + resources

Wim Crouwel Herbert Read

Interdisciplinary thinking for designers

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design research

Brainstorming plays an important role in all aspects of the design process, requiring designers to expand their horizons beyond the realms of the discipline of graphic design. Research helps designers understand their content in view of their audience, because the goal of design is to ultimately find the solution within the problem by connecting initially disparate ideas.

Light Graphic, Photogenic, Gyrogy Kepes photographic enlargement

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interdisciplinary thought

It is essential for young designers to look beyond the field of graphic design. Strong articulation through form requires a knowledge of the needs of the audience. Interdisciplinary thinking broadens the designers’ range of knowledge, making them more empathetic and literate communicators.

Untitled, Gyrogy Kepes photogenic drawing

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swiss design

Often referred to as the International Typographic Style or the International Style, the style of design that originated in Switzerland in the 1940s and 50s was the basis of much of the development of graphic design during the mid 20th century. Led by designers Josef MĂźller-Brockmann at the Zurich School of Arts and Krafts and Armin Hofmann at the Basel School of Design, the style favored simplicity, legibility, and objectivity. Of the many contributions to develop from the two schools were the use, of sans-serif typography, grids and asymmetrical layouts. Also stressed was the combination of typography and photography as a means of visual communication. The primary influential works were developed as posters, which were seen to be the most effective means of communication.

modernist poetry

Just as the automobile and airplane were beginning to accelerate the pace of human life and Einstein’s ideas were transforming the perception of the universe, there was an explosion of innovation and creative energy that shook every field of artistic endeavor. Artists from all over the world converged on London, Paris, and other great cities of Europe to join in the expansion of new ideas and movements: Cubism, Constructivism, Futurism, Acmeism, and Imagism were among the most influential banners under which the new artists grouped themselves. It was an era when major artists were questioning and reinventing their art forms: Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso in painting, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein in literature, Isadora Duncan in dance, Igor Stravinsky in music, and Frank Lloyd Wright in architecture. coaevum   11

international style the expansion of swiss design

International Style emerged from Swiss design. During World War II, Switzerland was a neutral country, free from the nationalistic dictatorship of the Axis Powers. Once WWII ended, Swiss neutrality bled into design theory as many designers converged in Switzerland, particularly in a design school in Zürich. After the devastation of the World Wars, artists and designers sought neutrality in the International Style. Led by Emil Ruder, the Basel School of Design created new standards for concise visual communication. Swiss designers sought to reunite people through their art in an effort to reject nationalistic styles of the past. Swiss design was adopted internationally as designers and artists migrated out of Europe because of the war. Designers utilized neutral, geometric forms throughout their work, reiterating the universal theme.

He created a large body of work for theatrical productions, using musical influence to create a visually musical tone and rhythm. Swiss Designers utilized the grid and strongly believed in a balanced, asymmetrical form as the foundation of strong design. Elements on the page were limited to elements necessary to the concept. Swiss typography was influenced by Jan Tschichold’s New Typography. His theories emphasized the neutrality Swiss design sought after. Typography was used as an element of form in design. Typography was designed to be neutral and not to influence the copy, like Helvetica’s design. Revolutions in typesetting allowed more freedom in alignment, and asymmetrical type compositions emerged.

Josef Müller-Brockmann considered poster design to be the most effective method of communication. His poster designs were unique in how he experimented with geometric forms and shapes. Josef Müller-Brockmann Das Freundliche Handzeichen, Schützt vor Unfällen coaevum   13

modernist poetry ezra pound + t. s. eliot

Along with the development of new technologies, the great discord among nations caused by World War I called for a massive change. American poets Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, living in London, sparked this change in the form of poetry. Pound particurally advocated making everything new, starting from scratch. He harshly degraded followers of language cluttered with ornamental, romantic descriptions. Pound was a founder of a specific movement of Modernist poetry called Imagism. This movement was conceived in the spring of 1912, where Pound informed two young poets, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and Richard Aldington, that they were Imagists. Imagism became a relatively accessible way to be in on the new and the modern poetry. In June 1914 in The Egoist Aldington explained what Imagism was, but the most influential single statement produced in the whole course of the movement was his preface to the Imagist anthology for 1915. It listed six tenets of this modern poetry.

Pound revolutionized poetry by looking to new ideas and using theories from synthetic cubism to create a new style of poetry. He looked by to ancient forms of writing, to collage these style together in his famous works of The Cantos. Pound and Eliot worked closely together to create a new style of writing. Eliot’s The Wasteland became the epitome of modernist poetry. It sought to capture the horrors of war and his reaction to the new industrialized civilization. As a soldier, he wrote about his personal experiences, leaving out any flourish of language to tell exactly how he experienced this violent revolution in society.

The awful daring of a moment’s surrender Which an age of prudence can never retract By this, and this only, we have existed Which is not to be found in our obituaries Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor In our empty rooms DA Dayadhvam: I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in

his prison Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus DA Damyata: The boat responded Gaily, to the hand expert with sail and oar The sea was calm, your heart would have responded Gaily, when invited, beating obedient To controlling hands

T. S. Eliot, excerpt from The Wasteland

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six tenets of modernist poetry paralleling philosophies of designers and poets




To use the language of common speech, but to employ the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.

We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better expressed in free verse than in conventional forms. In poetry, a new cadence means a new idea.

Absolute freedom in the choice of subject.




To present an image. We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous.

To produce a poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.

Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry.

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universal To use the language of common speech, but to employ the exact word, not the nearly exact, nor the merely decorative word.

Irgamide, Armin Hofmann Letterpress

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universal armin hofmann william carlos williams

The radical, anti-Facist nature of the Swiss Style carried the movement beyond Swiss borders and into the 1960s as the New International Style. The aesthetic reduciton of the style reduced nationalistic characteristics of design in an attempt to unite individuals after the widespread pain of WWII. There is an idealogical similarity between the designers of the Swiss Style and modernists poets in regards to seeking unversality in their work. Modernist poets plundered the past to make the present new in the wake of chaos of WWI. The world broke into two in the twentieth century, and researching various responses from different disciplines to massive cultural and philosophical shifts after tradegy teaches designers empathy by reflecting on the past. Understanding the historical reasons both of these movements emphasized universality aids the designer in regards to grasping their own context for the purpose of better communication.

Armin Hofmann, one of the early formational designers of Swiss design and an instructor at the Basel School of Design, taught his students to utilize type for the communication of ideas. He emphasized the enlargement of type within a design and taught his students how to handle the letterform effectively by hand lettering. William Carlos Williams moved away from imagism to get away from European cultural themes in poetry. He wanted to make poetry for the common people using imagery from everyday circumstances in life.

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“For after all, a poster does more than simply supply information on the goods it advertises; it also reveals a society’s state of mind.”

armin hofmann designer + educator

The universality of Armin Hofmann’s theories and work was a catalyst for new processes and techniques which were foundational to the new typographic structures which emerged from the Swiss Style.

Swiss poster design was upheld as a primary method of concise, ubiquitous communication and the International Typographic Style emerged as a means of clarifying and neutralizing language itself.

By the age of 27 Armin Hofmann had already completed an apprenticeship in lithography and had begun teaching typography at the Basel School of Design. His colleagues and students were integral in adding to work and theories that surrounded the Swiss International Style, which stressed a belief in an absolute and universal style of design. The style of design they created had a goal of communication above all else, practiced new techniques of photo-typesetting, photo-montage and experimental composition and heavily favored sans-serif typography. He taught for several years at the Basel School of Design and he was not there long before he replaced Emil Ruder as the head of the school.

The Swiss International Style, and Hofmann, thought that one of the most efficient forms of communications was the poster and Hofmann spent much of his career designing posters, particularly for the Basel Stadt Theater. Just as Emil Ruder and Joseph [sic] Müller-Brockmann did, Hofmann wrote a book in which he outlined his philosophies and practices. His Graphic Design Manual was, and still is, a reference book for all graphic designers.

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“It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.�

william carlos williams poet + physician

The driving force of Williams’ work was succinct communication of language, handled in such a manner as to make the reader’s experience tangible.

William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey on September 17, 1883. He began writing poetry while he was a student at Horace Mann High School. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound. Pound became a great influence on his writing, and in 1913 arranged for the London publication of Williams’s second collection, The Tempers. Returning to Rutherford, practiced medicine throughout his life, Williams began publishing his work in small magazines, embarking on a prolific career as a poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright.

Williams wrote in “plain American which cats and dogs can read,” to use a phrase of Moore. “Not ideas but in things,” he proclaimed. In succinct, often witty poems, he presents common objects or events—a red wheelbarrow, a person eating plums—with freshness and immediacy, enlarging our understanding of what a poem’s subject matter can be.

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research prompt It is easy today to underestimate the impression that these posters made in the streets. Hofmann’s sparing use of black and white had an argumentative and even ethical purpose. In the early days of the post-war consumer society, his work proposed (we might now think over-optimistically) a visual culture founded on an ideal of thoughtful restraint. “I have endeavored to do something to counteract the increasing trivialization of color evident since the Second World War on billboards, in modern utensils and in the entertainment industry,” – Armin Hofmann

Giselle Basel Freilichtspiele Armin Hofmann photolithograph The simplicity of Hofmann’s combination of imagery and type give his work character because they emphasize experience. One of the most well known Hofmann pieces, Giselle Basel Freilichtspiele is a poster from a series which sought to communicate the expereince of going to the theater in rough, snapshot, spontaneous

visual expressions through photography. Like Williams’ poetry, Hofmann’s posters seek to succiently present aspects of the human experience.

A big young bareheaded woman in an apron Her hair slicked back standing on the street One stockinged foot toeing the sidewalk Her shoe in her hand. Looking intently into it She pulls out the paper insole to find the nail That has been hurting her

Proletarian Portrait, William Carlos Williams

Williams is identified as making the everyday experience viable and suitable for poetic verse. It is the direct rhetoric of William’s work that makes his subject matter universally accessible to readers.

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research prompt In the classroom, Hofmann believed the process of discovery was vital, however long it might take. He never imposed artificial deadlines; a project was only finished when the student had arrived at a satisfactory resolution. In this atmosphere, the smallest direction, a hand gesture to suggest a line of visual development, could prove decisive. “Sometimes it was simply a touch on the shoulder and him saying, ‘Ja, ja, just keep going.’ This little encouragement would do wonders and give the necessary confidence to go on,” – Allemann, a student of Hofmann’s from 1960 to 1965.

Stadt Theater Basel, Theater Season Poster Armin Hofmann Hofmann’s theater posters were characterized by a reduction of aesthetic noise. The type and minimal photographic forms communicate the concept clearly, for all to understand.

You sullen pig of a man you force me into the mud with your stinking ashcart! Brother! if we were rich we’d stick our chests out and hold our heads high!

Well– all things turn bitter in the end whether you choose the right or the left way and– dreams are not a bad thing.

It is dreams that have destroyed us. There is no more pride in horses or in rein holding. We sit hunched together brooding our fate.

“Libertad! Igualdad! Fraternidad!” William Carlos Williams The title of this poem was the motto of the French Revolutionaries. The subject matter appears to be two brothers working alongside each other. Therefore, it could be inferred that Williams suggests a movement for the labor rights. This poem points towards the American dream – or at the least, the concept of an universal goal of a certain standard of living. coaevum   29

innovative We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better expressed in free verse than in conventional forms. In poetry, a new cadence means a new idea.

Moderne franzosische Knupfteppiche Emil Ruder Poster

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innovative emil ruder e. e. cummings

During the early 20th century, artists were searching for new ideas. In all disciplines, there was a push towards innovation and creating a new style, especially after realizing some flaws in previous philosophies, such as romanticism and traditional, academic styles. E. E. Cummings and Emil Ruder were two prominent artists that strove towards new ideas and looking beyond previous styles to create something completely new. Their ideas of expression through simplicity and typography is what made them important in their time and even now. Both of their works are highly studied because of the advancements they made in their time.

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“Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty.�

emil ruder designer + typographer

Emil Ruder used new, innovative forms of design to create his style. He was the forefront of the Basel School of design, leading designers from the Zurich School of design. Rejecting the ideas of design of the past, Ruder succeeded in creating a new style by divorcing typography from previous rules and guidelines.

Emil Ruder was a typographer and graphic designer who, born in Switzerland in 1914, helped Armin Hofmann form the Basel School of Design and establish the style of design known as Swiss Design. He taught that, above all, typography’s purpose was to communicate ideas through writing. He placed a heavy importance on sans-serif typefaces and his work is both clear and concise, especially his typography. Like most designers classified as part of the Swiss Design movement he favored asymmetrical compositions, placing a high importance on the counters of characters and the negative space of compositions. A friend and associate of Hofmann, Frutiger and MĂźller Brockmann, Ruder played a key role in the development of graphic design in the 1940s and 50s. His style has been emulated by many designers, and his use of grids in design has influenced the development of web design on many levels. coaevum   35

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.�

e. e. cummings poet + painter

E. E. Cummings’ work was highly experimental. He worked with varying types of form, rhythm and even lack of these traditional poetic techniques to convey meaning. His work was avant garde for his time, creating a new style through his study of language. He used the concepts of syntax, punctuation, spelling, and form.

Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 1894. He began writing poems as early as 1904 and studied Latin and Greek at the Cambridge Latin High School. In 1917, Cummings published an early selection of poems in the anthology Eight Harvard Poets. The same year, Cummings left the United States for France as a volunteer ambulance driver in World War I. Five months after his assignment, however, he and a friend were interned in a prison camp by the French authorities on suspicion of espionage (an experience recounted in his novel, The Enormous Room) for his outspoken anti-war convictions. He attained great popularity, especially among young readers, for the simplicity of his language, his playful mode and his attention to subjects such as war and sex.

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research prompt E. E. Cummings, along with writing poetry, was a painter. His paintings were naive in style, as he refused to take any form of instruction, but his style is expressionistic and mimics fauvism with how he handles the media. Cummings thought that his painting was as important as his poetry. He created poems based on what he knew of art. He used the placement of his typography intentionally aligned in ways that lead the reader’s eyes through the poem.

Typographie, Emil Ruder

Emil Ruder experimented heavily with type. Alongside his design, he sought after educating other designers as well. Typographie is his text book outlining his ideas for the International Typographic style.

dive for dreams or a slogan may topple you (trees are their roots and wind is wind) trust your heart if the seas catch fire (and live by love though the stars walk backward) honour the past but welcome the future (and dance your death away at this wedding) never mind a world with its villains or heroes (for god likes girls and tomorrow and the earth)

(“dive for dreams”), E. E. Cummings

(“dive for dreams”) exhibits Cummings’ syntax experimentation. He frequently utilized punctuation in a visual manner, breaking from traditional rules of English syntax. The complete disregard of capitalization was purposeful in this poem.

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research prompt Emil Ruder explored new ideas in typography. In his book Typographie, he establishes new standards that revolutionized how type was thought about and set. He treated type as an element of design. In Emil Ruder’s own words “The typographer must take into account technical developments of the present and future for such advances might bring about changes of form. And a printed work which is to be valid document of its times must combine both technical and formal qualities.” These standards Ruder set would influence how designers used typography in the future. The Swiss design philosophy would become prominent in the future, leading to the neutral design of Helvetica.

excerpt from Typographie, Emil Ruder

In this excerpt from Typographie, Ruder uses typography in a new way. He explores the form of type in light of the form of jazz, creating a unique rhythm, mimicking the rhythm and flow of jazz. His innovation in type led to new possibilities in graphic design.

all nearness pauses, while a star can grow all distance breathes a final dream of bells; perfectly outlined against afterglow are all amazing the and peaceful hills (not where not here but neither’s blue most both) and history immeasurably is wealthier by a single sweet day’s death: as not imagined secrecies comprise

goldenly huge whole the upfloating moon. Time’s a strange fellow; more he gives than takes (and he takes all)nor any marvel finds quite disappearance but some keener makes losing,gaining –love! if a world ends more than all worlds begin to(see?)begin

all nearness pauses while a star can grow, E. E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings’ work was highly experimental. He worked with varying types of form, rhythm and even lack of these traditional poetic techniques to convey meaning. His work was avant garde for his time, creating a new style through his study of language. He used the concepts of syntax, punctuation, spelling, and form.

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complex Absolute freedom in the choice of subject.

Musica Viva, Josef Müller-Brockmann poster

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josef müller-brockmann wallace stevens

Both the International Style of design and Modernist Poetry sought to express ideas with minimal form. They were remarkably creative in their avoidance of flamboyant, ornamental expression. Designer Josef Müller-Brockmann and poet Wallace Stevens experimented with the abstract connections between form and language. They fulfilled a modernist goal of making concepts clear to the viewer or reader.

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“[The grid] permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style.�

josef müller-brockmann designer + educator

Josef Müller-Brockmann experimented with new forms in his work and looked past the study of design for creative solutions. Many of his posters needed to emulate different styles of music, so he was forced to look for solutions within the music itself. He often looked for rhythm and cadence in music to create his design compositions.

As with most graphic designers that can be classified as part of the Swiss International Style, Joseph [sic] Müller-Brockmann was influenced by the ideas of several different design and art movements including Constructivism, De Stijl, Suprematism and the Bauhaus. He is perhaps the most well-known Swiss designer and his name is probably the most easily recognized when talking about the period. He was born and raised in Switzerland and by the age of 43 he became a teacher at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts.

analysis of his work practices, and an excellent foundation for young graphic designers wishing to learn more about the profession. He spent most of his life working and teaching, even into the early 1990s, when he toured the U.S. and Canada speaking on his work. He died in Zurich in 1996.

Perhaps his most decisive work was done for the Zurich Town Hall as poster advertisements for its theater shows. He published several books, including The Graphic Artist and His Problems and Grid Systems in Graphic Design. These books provide an in-depth

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“Throw away the lights , the definitions, and say what you see in the dark.”

wallace stevens poet + playwright

Wallace Stevens grew up with a mind wide open to the world around him. As a journalist for his university’s newspaper, wrote about his everyday observations, attended theatrical productions, and even wrote several of his own plays. His vivid imagination allowed him to synthesize abstract meanings into modern poetic forms.

Wallace Stevens was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 2, 1879. He attended Harvard University as an undergraduate from 1897 to 1900. He planned to travel to Paris as a writer, but after a working briefly as a reporter for the New York Herald Times, he decided to go to law school. He graduated with a degree from New York Law School in 1903 and was admitted to the U.S. Bar in 1904. He practiced law in New York City until 1916. More than any other modern poet, Stevens was concerned with the transformative power of the imagination. Composing poems on his way to and from the office and in the evenings, Stevens continued to spend his days behind a desk, and led a quiet, uneventful life.

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research prompt Müller-Brockmann studied Beethoven’s compositional structures in order to place each concentric arc in the rhythms and proportions that correspond with his music.

Beethoven Poster, Josef Müller-Brockmann

Müller-Brockmann gave most of his attention to communicating the concept succinctly, no matter how abstract. He designed many posters for the Musica Viva concert series, and in these posters, he attempted to capture the feeling of different musical pieces. In this poster, he masterfully recreates the swelling rhythms of Beethoven’s work in visual form.

VIII I know noble accents And lucid, inescapable rhythms; But I know, too, That the blackbird is involved In what I know.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, Wallace Stevens

Stevens wrote this poem in thirteen sections, painting thirteen verbal pictures, each from a different perspective, and each incorporating mention of a blackbird. The collective poem shows Stevens’s ability to observe something ordinary and address it in a wildly creative way. These lines in particular, while still definitely modernist, provide the reader a window to his probably mystical views of nature. coaevum   51

research prompt Built in 1895 and opened with Johannes Brahms in attendance, the Zürich Townhall is widely known for its outstanding acoustics. The Tonhalle Orchestra has become into one of the finest in Europe, conducted by Lionel Bringuier since 2014.

Musica Viva Poster, Josef Müller-Brockmann

In the above poster, Müller-Brockmann is visualizing music. The rectangles resemble piano keys, but they are arranged and colored to create a specific dynamic rhythm that the viewer can almost hear.

Just as my fingers on these keys Make music, so the selfsame sounds On my spirit make a music, too. Music is feeling, then, not sound; And thus it is that what I feel, Here in this room, desiring you, Thinking of your blueshadowed silk, Is music.

Peter Quince at the Clavier, Wallace Stevens

The first several lines of this poem are the narrator’s attempt to seduce a woman through a song. Stevens used language to emulate music and painting, as he felt that the arts shared properties with language. He employed rhythm and color in his descriptions to visually engage the mind.

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To present an image. We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous.

Advertising Design, Gyorgy Kepes Photogram

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minimal gyorgy kepes t. e. hulme

Communication through objective simplicity was a guiding principle of Swiss Design. The goal was clarity, order, and a universally understood visual language where Gyorgy Kepes is well known as the father of “The New Vision.” Swiss designs were free from ornamentation. They attempted to remove all that was unnecessary. It is a style of design that favors minimalism. In Modernist Poetry, poets wanted to emphasize clear communication and break away from language cluttered with long-winded romantic descriptions by stripping poetry down to its most basic expression using imagery, and outlawing most literary devices. They focused attention on individual words, the properties of those words, and how they could be exploited by typography. For Hulme, the visual image is only the starting point for an even more concrete theory of language. His writings on poetry quickly shift from the subject observed to a minimal and tangible objectification of language.

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“Optical units close to each other on a picture plane tend to be seen together and, consequently, one can stabilize them in coherent figures.�

gyorgy kepes designer + educator

A single minimal character gains simplicity, clarity and meaning by orderly relationship of the space and the background which surrounds it.

Kepes is indeed a man of many faces. In his career he worked as a designer, painter, sculptor, filmmaker, teacher and urban camouflage theorist. He has been widely revered for his teaching practices. His book Language of Vision was used as a college textbook for the arts for many years. Visual language can convey facts and ideas in a wider and deeper range than almost any other means of communication. It can reinforce the static verbal concept with the sensory vitality of dynamic imagery.

He ran the Color and Light program at the New Bauhas in Chicago (at the invitation of his friend Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and founded the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. In 1974 he retired from education and returned to painting. His teachings and the work of his students (one of which was Saul Bass) greatly influenced an entire nation of budding American designers.

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“Literature, like memory, selects only the vivid patches.�

t. e. hulme poet + aesthetician

Intellectualizing raw images of experience was, according to Hulme, inevitably limited because it oversimplified the convolution and profundity of occurrence. With this concept of image as the core of his discourse,

Hulme explored how experience could be represented artistically. Hulme asserted that paintings, just like poems, are composed in a language, or ‘symbol system’.

T.E. Hulme, or Thomas Ernest Hulme, was an English aesthetician, literary critic, and poet, as well as one of the founders of the literary Imagist movement. Hulme went to St. John’s College, Cambridge, but was expelled for rowdyism in 1904. Thereafter, he lived mainly in London, translating the works of Henri Bergson and Georges Sorel. Alongside Ezra Pound, F.S. Flint, and Hilda Doolittle, he then founded the Imagist movement. Hulme posited that post-Renaissance humanism was coming to an end and believed that its view of man existing beyond any inherent limitations and imperfections was sentimental and based on false premises. His hatred of romantic optimism,

his view of man as limited and absurd, his theology, which emphasized the doctrine of original sin, and his advocacy of a “hard, dry” kind of art and poetry, foreshadowed the disillusionment of many writers of the 1920s. Hulme also advocated the art of Pablo Picasso and Wyndham Lewis as the potential expression of a new, disciplined outlook.

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research prompt Kepes stated that “only film could bring into singular focus my joy in the visual world and the social goals to be realized in this world” after the horrors of World War II. He wrote that war had “virtually destroyed” his hope that any one person acting alone “could marshal his inner strength to take constructive action.”

Compass and Strainer. Gyorgy Kepes, Photogram Kepes’ work reflects that visual expression, based upon the understanding of the dynamic structure of the visual imagery, can be invaluable in readjusting one’s design thinking. The photogram above suggests this new thinking-habit, reinforced with the elementary strength of sensory experience.

(The fantasia of a fallen gentleman on a cold, bitter night) Once, in finesse of fiddles found I ecstasy, In a flash of gold heels on the hard pavement. Now see I That warmth’s the very stuff of poesy. Oh, God, make small The old star-eaten blanket of the sky, That I may fold it round me and in comfort lie.

T. E. Hulme, The Embankment

Good poetry deals with the necessary. Hulme pushes this point by choosing ‘fiddles’ and ‘gold heels’ as the images; both are associated with luxury, with what is not necessary but merely desired. But warmth is something different: warmth is not only desired but needed for us to live.

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research prompt In World War I, Hulme volunteered as an artilleryman in 1914 and served with the Honourable Artillery Company and later the Royal Marine Artillery in France and Belgium. On 28 September 1917, four days after his thirty-fourth birthday, Hulme suffered a direct hit from a large shell which literally blew him to pieces. Apparently absorbed in some thought of his own he had failed to hear it coming and remained standing while those around threw themselves flat on the ground. What was left of him was buried in the Military Cemetery at Koksijde, WestVlaanderen, in Belgium where, no doubt for want of space, he is described simply as “One of the War poets.�

Juliet With Peacock Feather & Red Leaf. Gyorgy Kepes, Photomontage

Kepes shows that there is no time for the perception of too many details. The duration of the visual impacts is too short. To attract the eye and convey the full meaning in this visual turmoil of events, the image possess, like the traffic sign, simplicity of elements and lucid forcefulness.

A touch of cold in the Autumn night— I walked abroad, And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge Like a red-faced farmer. I did not stop to speak, but nodded, And round about were the wistful stars With white faces like town children.

T. E. Hulme, autumn

In this poem, the image of likening the moon to the red face of a farmer may appear strange, but when one recalls that this scene is taking place in autumn, and that the autumn moon is also known as the harvest moon, one can understand the chain of connections from the

red moon to farmer’s face. Recognizing unique patterns in poetry is helpful for expanding methods of ideating and brainstorming in design thinking.

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concise To produce a poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.

Cover of Graphis Diagrams, Walter Herdeg book cover

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concise walter herdeg marianne moore

The International Style was based on the idea that design should be objective, in that the form should follow function and meaning. Designers stripped superfluous elements and used a concise aesthetic to accentuate and amplify the core message. In Modernist Poetry, the basic tenets were to treat the poem as an object and to emphasize sincerity, intelligence, and the poet’s ability to look clearly at the world. Moore’s poetry relies on a connection between the imagined and the concise of expression. She often focuses on an object as the keystone of a tightly constructed poem that leads her reader to an ethical or “useful” statement.

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“Elegance is a measure of the grace and simplicity of the designed product relative to the complexity of its functions.�

walter herdeg designer + educator

“The layouts in Graphis, or magazines like it, must never be spectacular,” stated Herdeg. “They must only serve the purpose, which is to show the work of an artist in the best possible way and to make it appear even

better than it is. I call this a ‘service layout.” Clearly, the superficially prosaic world of charts and graphs appeals to a basic human need to inform and be informed.

Walter Herdeg was very much a graphic designer. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, created many different corporate identities (just as the practice was beginning to become a standard), and even formed his own design company with Walter Amstutz. What he is best known for, however, is the creation and publication of Graphis. An international journal of visual communication, Graphis was first published by Herdeg towards the end of the Second World War.

Herdeg served as the editor of the magazine for 246 issues (the magazine is still in publication) as well as the Graphis Design Annuals which showed the best and brightest work from the year prior to their publication. Graphis was a seminal force in the shaping of design culture and it continues to educate, expand and foster the world of graphic design today.

The magazine showcases work and interviews from designers and illustrators from all over the world in an effort to share their work with other audiences. In the beginning it served as one of what were, at the time, only a few vessels which exposed the western world to the design work being done in Europe.

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“Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.�

marianne moore poet + editor

Marianne Moore used language concisely in order to create a single image. Her poetry is full of concise language and gripping decisions and observations of the world around her. Moore wanted that the meaning of a poem was explicit; it should not followed by the rule which made the poem itself different. Her philosophy holds that people suffer through a loss of purpose or a lack of understanding of significance.

In 1918, Moore and her mother moved to New York City, and in 1921, she became an assistant at the New York Public Library. She began to meet other poets, such as William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens, and to contribute to the Dial, a prestigious literary magazine. She served as acting editor of the Dial from 1925 to 1929. Along with the work of such other members of the Imagist movement as Ezra Pound, Williams, and H. D., Moore’s poems were published in The Egoist, an English magazine, beginning in 1915. In 1921, H. D. published Moore’s first book, Poems.

by T. S. Eliot, who said they belonged to the “small body of durable poetry” of the time. The work eluded “the moderately intellectual,” as Eliot put it, in his introduction to Moore’s 1935 Selected Poems: “Only to those whose intellection moves more easily will they immediately appear to have emotional value.”

Often incorporating quotes from other sources into the text, her use of language was always extraordinarily condensed and precise, capable of suggesting a variety of different ideas and associations within a single, compact image. Early in her career, her poems were praised coaevum   73

research prompt “Over-complexity is not generally a design failing in the presentation of diagrammatic material. When it is, it often reflects non-design influences–an editorial decision to put more information into a diagram than necessary, or a financial table that jars the eye with its scramble of type faces, indentations, italicizations, and underlinings that accountants sometimes demand.” –Walter Herdeg

Subway map and rail system in Philadelphia, Richard Saul Wurman in Graphis Diagrams, Walter Herdeg Herdeg showed with diagrams that he was guided by the legibility of the visual information conveyed. For Herdeg, applying elegant concision was a measure of the simplicity of the product relative to the complexity of its functions.

If external action is effete and rhyme is outmoded, I shall revert to you, Habakkuk, as when in a Bible class the teacher was speaking of unrhymed verse. He said - and I think I repeat his exact words “Hebrew poetry is prose with a sort of heightened consciousness.” Ecstasy affords the occasion and expediency determines the form.

The Past Is The Present, Marianne Moore

In this poem, Moore references a prophet from the Hebrew Scriptures. Moore explored different religions, frequently including elements of her religious studies in her writing.

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research prompt Moore wrote a significant number of prose pieces, including reviews and essays. Her prose works cover a broad range of subjects: painting, sculpture, literature, music, fashion, herbal medicine, and sports. She was also an avid baseball fan and wrote the liner notes for Muhammad Ali’s record, I Am the Greatest!

Untitled, Richard Saul Wurman in Graphis by Walter Herdeg

Herdeg’s map work consists of flat diagrams. His work was massively influential in Swiss way finding, which has bled into contemporary way finding systems worldwide.

not of silver nor of coral, but of weatherbeaten laurel. Here, he introduced a sea uniform like tapestry; here, a fig-tree; there, a face; there, a dragon circling space— designating here, a bower; there, a pointed passionflower.

He Made This Screen, Marianne Moore

In this poem, Moore references Chinese art. Her focus is solely on the image it presents, representing her ideas through concise meter and rhyme. During this time she looked at Eastern culture for inspiration because of how the Western world viewed women and sought out Taoism. This poem is about what she found in her search in Taoism. coaevum   77

precise Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry.

Rabobank Logo, Wim Crouwel

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precise wim crouwel herbert read

International Style and Modernist Poetry paid close attention to detail in the presentation of their content. Dutch designer Wim Crouwel was by no means the first to use a grid system, but the manner in which he handled the grid is deserves recognition. He worked with grids throughout his prolific print design career and also furthered the field of digital typography. Poet Herbert Read was both incredibly empathetic and analytical in his work. His book, The Meaning of Art, was an evaluation of what should be called art and what should be called beautiful. Read used his extraordinary empathy to exact the chosen artistic concept, beautiful or otherwise. Crouwel’s grid work and Read’s concentrated empathy parallel each other in their exact execution.

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“I’ve always thought that a designer should [...] be a detached judge and make his designs accordingly.”

wim crouwel designer + educator

Crouwel’s systematic approach to design is underpinned by a reliance on the grid. His process, logical yet experimental, distills a subject down to its absolute essence and in doing so he achieves great impact and

purpose in both his exhibition and print design. Through his long and productive career he has produced exemplary work in exhibition design, and designed posters, calendars, typefaces, trademarks and stamps.

Crouwel is a graphic designer and typographer from the Netherlands. In 1963 he founded the studio Total Design. His most well known work has been for the Stedelijk Museum. His typography is extremely well planned and based on very strict systems of grids. He has also designed expositions, album covers and identity systems. He has published two typefaces Fodor and Gridnik, digitized versions of both are available from The Foundry.

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“Most of our misconceptions of art arise from a lack of consistency in the use of the words art and beauty.�

herbert read poet + art critic

Read was not only intelligent but also extremely observant. He had an ability to empathetically perceive the feelings of those around him and could write from a wide variety of perspectives. He could appeal to many readers because he “represented more phases of human recognition than any other writer living today.” He could accurately pinpoint the exact emotional triggers he needed to effectively carry his message.

Geoffrey Moore “Yet for all his hard work and seriousness Sir Herbert has, but for a handful of poems, always seemed more of a thinker expressing himself in verse than a true poet.” In his lifetime Read saw Britain’s Society of Education Through Art and an International Society for Education Through Art founded on the basis of his work, but these accomplishments formed only a foundation for his great hope. As Woodcock emphasized, “Read died believing that his philosophy of life—the aesthetic philosophy—was valid, and that some day,if the world was not destroyed by technicians, mankind would come to live by it, through true education and a life in which work and art would become indistinguishable.”

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research prompt “Akzidenz Grotesk was not available in Holland. When I did my first larger graphic design commissions— and I wanted to use Akzidenz Grotesk—I would buy Swiss newspapers and cut the letters out and glue them in place, and then take photographs to use as artwork.” —Wim Crouwel

Hiroshima Poster, Wim Crouwel

Crouwel’s Hiroshima poster exhibits his careful use of a grid with few pieces of information. The type, which Crouwel designed himself, is set brilliantly so that the space surrounding each letter matches the counters and spaces within the letters.

Ernest Kneeshaw grew

His finger-nails and wrinkled boots.

In the forest of his dreams Like a woodland flower whose anaemic petals

He might at least have perceived A sexual atmosphere;

Need the sun. Life was a far perspective Of high black columns Flanking, arching and encircling him. He never, even vaguely, tried to pierce

But even when his body burned and urged Like the buds and roots around him, Abash’d by the will-less promptings of his flesh, He continued to contemplate his feet.

The gloom about him, But was content to contemplate Kneeshaw Goes to War, Herbert Read

Drawing from his own war experiences, Read vividly portrays the horrors of war. In this particular section, he characterizes Ernest Kneeshaw as a man who grew up in his own gloomy world of ideas, yet focused on the insignificant details of objects below him.

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research prompt In November 2009, the Stedelijk Museum started a project to digitize the historical archive, which spans from 1895 to 1980. The archive contains 1.5 million documents in 7,000 folders, and includes correspondence letters of the director and buyer records. Ownership of the documents has been officially transferred to the Amsterdam City Archive, but the documents will remain in the Stedelijk Museum until the digitization project is completed.

Verm-gevers Poster, Wim Crouwel

The visible grid in this design brings to light the carefully measured proportions of Crouwel’s type. The poster is not only designed with precision, it also communicates precision, as it is promoting an exhibition about graphic designers which calls them “Vormgevers” or “Form-givers.” Crouwel used this grid for all of this museum’s posters.

His wild heart beats with painful sobs, His strain’d hands clench an ice-cold rifle, His aching jaws grip a hot parch’d tongue, His wide eyes search unconsciously. He cannot shriek. Bloody saliva Dribbles down his shapeless jacket. I saw him stab And stab again A well-killed Boche. This is the happy warrior, This is he…

Herbert Read, The Happy Warrior

This was written in response to Wordsworth’s 1805 poem “The Character of the Happy Warrior” which is intended to portray a model “whom every man in arms should wish to be.” Read’s The Happy Warrior tears down this ideal and replaces it with the much more exact reality of intense fear driving a man to insanity.

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interdisciplinary thinking for the contemporary designer

Modernist poetry and the International Typographic Style reflect changes within their respective disciplines which echo the massive cultural shift that occurred after two World Wars. These two movements occurred during heights of cultural shift in the twentieth century, both searching for a distinct style to call their own. The impact of other artists, writers, designers, philosophers, and scientists cause these thinkers to study each other to create a new style completely their own. Looking to other disciplines not only helped these artists and poets to look beyond what their contemporaries were doing, but find their own style of form. Ezra Pound looked to ancient Chinese characters to influence his most famous work, The Cantos, and combined these styles to create his own. International Designers looked to a Swiss culture of neutrality after World War II to create their style of simplicity, clarity, and neutrality.

While the designers of the International Style and the Modernist poets did not necessarily have an enormous contemporary impact on each other, each movement possessed similar philosophies in their work. Modern poetic content emerges from the chaos of a generation lost in World War I. The New International typographic forms act as a placeholder for meaning, a message of neutrality sought out by a world reeling from World War II. They became culture-movers because they were attune to the state of the international community. Ideological parallels exist in both in Swiss design and modernist poetry. It is these mirrored ideologies that design students ought to seek to uncover in disciplines apart from design, in order to become more literate and relevant communicators.

Olivetti Lettera 22, Giovanni Pintori lithograph coaevum   91


Abigail Whigham

Cameron Knight

Concept International Style and Modernist poetry Spreads Typesetting Icons Resource Page Copy Editing Content: Tenet 2

Concept Image collection Hyperlinks Introduction spreads Copy Content: Tenet 3 and 6, Modernist poetry

Mariana Poveda

Michaela Staton

Concept Cover Title page Closing Page Duotones Copy Content: Tenet 4 and 5, Modernist poetry

Concept Typesetting Icons Division pages Designer/poet Spreads TOC/6 Tenets/Credits Copy Editing Content: Tenet 1

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resources 6 Image: php#photo-6638571 8 Image: php#photo-6638577 Swiss Design: 10 Modernist Poetry: 11 12 Image: Josef Müller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design, Josef Müller-Brockmann T. S. Eliot: 14-15 Tenet 1: 18–29 18 Image: Corporate Diversity: Swiss Graphic Design and Advertising by Geigy, page 137 22 Image: modules/mediamanager/sendobject.php?lang=de&image =NHzLpZWg7t,lnJ6IzdeIp96km56VlWpxnpdOqeA-&.jpg 23 24 Image: GettyImages-50391810.jpg 25 articles/detail/68319 poets/detail/william-carlos-williams 26 Image: Graphic Design: A New History, Stephen J. Eskilson, page 295 27 28 Image: Corporate Diversity: Swiss Graphic Design and Advertising by Geigy, page 21 29

Tenet 2: 30–41 30 Image: Corporate Diversity: Swiss Graphic Design and Advertising by Geigy, page 21 34 Image: uploads/2015/02/WendAliceReviewPh.jpg 35 36 Image 37 38 Image: 39 40 Image: uploads/2009/10/IMG_1892.jpg 41 Tenet 3: 42–53 42 Image: Josef Müller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design, Josef Müller-Brockmann, page 119 46 Image: Josef Müller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design, Josef Müller-Brockmann, inside cover 47 48 Image harriet/2014/09/turn-it-up-the-music-of-wallace-stevens/ 49 poets/detail/wallace-stevens detail/68319 50 Image: Josef Müller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design, Josef Müller-Brockmann, page 103 51 poems/detail/45236 52 Image: Josef Müller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design, Josef Müller-Brockmann, page 113 53 poems/detail/47430

Tenet 4: 54–65 54 Image: Language of Vision, Gyorgy Kepes, page 163 58 Image: 59 60 Image: 61 poets/detail/t-e-hulme#poet Books%20Collection/T.E.%20Hulme%20and%20the%20 Question%20of%20Modernism.pdf 62 Image: 63 64 Image: objectphoto/assets/collateral/000/307/249/307249_ original.jpg 65 poems/detail/44431

83 84 Image: media/File:Herbert_Read_(1966).jpg 85 poets/detail/herbert-read herbert-read/ 86 Image: 9286_3673622739_386b35ab7b_o.jpg 87 88 Image: php?p=90416599381 89

Tenet 5: 66–77 66 Image: Graphis, Walter Herdeg, cover 70 Image: 71 72 Image: commons/8/88/Marianne_Moore_1935.jpg 73

90 Image: poets/detail/marianne-moore 74 Image: Graphis, Walter Herdeg, page 141 75 76 Image: Graphis, Walter Herdeg, page 142 77 Tenet 6: 78–89 78 Image: _1f069d205c_z.jpg 82 Image:

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coaevum volume i: modernist poetry

volume ii: math volume iii: music volume iv: theatre volume v: science volume vi: business volume vii: philosophy

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Coaevum is an intellectual magazine discussing the intricacies of graphic design thinking and expanding the mind into new modes of thought....

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