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history of Modern Graphic Design

herbert Bayer

Herbert Bayer was born April 5, 1900 in Austria. He first worked in design as an apprentice for a local architect, and in 1921 was accepted into the design school Bauhaus. Bayer went on to do work in many fields of design, like graphic and environmental design.






From a young age, Bayer explored nature, sketching the hills and mountatins around him. Before serving a few years in the Austrian Army he aspired to attend art school in Vienna. Once out of the army, he worked for a local architect, George Schmidthammer, where he gained valuable skils in graphic design, drafting and production. In 1920 he moved to Darmstadt, Germany to work for architect Emanual Margold. During his work there, Bayer heard of the emerging design school Bauhaus in Weimar - he was accepted in October 1921. Bayer gave himself over to the Bauhaus philosophy of functional design. He was highly influenced by Walter Gropius, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Wassily Kandinsky. Specifically, Moholy-Nagy influenced Bayer to experiment with photography and photographic techniques like photomontage, collage and lighting. Gropious encouraged Bayer to push further in typography. Bayer designed Universal, a typeface consisting of only lower case letterforms. Bayer was quoted “why should we write and print in two seperate alphabets? we do not speak a capital A and a small a.” The sans-serif, geometric style of Universal helped to define the Bauhaus aesthetic.


Bayer spent some time teaching at the Bauhaus in Dessau. In 1928, Bayer left the Bauhaus and established his own firm in Berlin, where he did work for Dorland advertising agency, Berthold Type Foundary and more. Bayer fled Nazi Germany to New York City in 1938, and began print design work for the Container Corporation of America. From 1945 on, Bayer worked on enviromental and architectural projects, like the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in Aspen Colorado, Aspen’s Anderson Park, and Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park in Kent, Washington. Herbert Bayer passed away in 1985 in Montecito, California.

1 Die Neue Linie cover 2 Harper Bazaar cover 3 Exhibition advertisement 4 Container Corporation poster 5 Anderson Park 6 1928 Bauhaus magazine cover 7 Universal typeface


Herbert Bayer  

A spread on Herbert Bayer's early life, influences and some of his amazing design work.

Herbert Bayer  

A spread on Herbert Bayer's early life, influences and some of his amazing design work.