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The Champ-Fleury vs Bauhaus

By: Paul Hathaway


The Champ-Fleury showed how the human form, as well as other things in the world can inspire and influence a new typeface as well. In this case the Bauhaus typeface was influenced by geometric forms and industrialization. The fonts shown in the Champ-Fleury are structured using the proportions of the human body; other objects and they have serifs. While Bauhaus is only structured by simple shapes, and is a san-serif typeface. I think that these two things are similar because of how they use non-design objects as influence for typography. The Champ-Fleury was written by Geoffroy Tory in 1529. He was born in Bourges, France around 1480. He was a French humanist and an engraver. In this book Geoffroy Tory put forth the “idea of accents, the apostrophe, the cedilla, and

simple punctuation marks.”(Geoffroy) The book contained many pictures showing how different letterforms could be formed using a persons face, or the whole human body and also utilizing different geometric shapes. He labels parts of some characters as a reference to what he talks about. He also does this with a diagram of the human body which shows how typography and the human body are linked. There is a diagram of every letter in the alphabet showing what part geometry played in forming a character for a typeface, from the serifs in letters like “I” or “T”, and defining characteristics of “B” and “C”. The shapes were an important part in designing the serifs and the curves of the font because circles give out a uniformity that can’t be easily duplicated by a human hand. There are also pages that show letters made out of images representing real objects, such as garden tools or other household items. There are also a few pages that show the usage of abstract symbols to represent letters, along with


medieval looking typefaces. There are many different typefaces represented in the book. The book contains a wide range of fonts, some are old-style as well as some that are like they made using different letter forms altogether. The book was influenced by the times because it was made during the French Renaissance. There is the large decorative letter at the beginning of the book that is typical of the Renaissance design. This time was also known as The Golden Age of French Typography. (Geoffroy) Other books printed

during this time were printed in Latin, so this book was one of the first to be printed in French, probably just behind the bible, let alone a different language. Paving the way for other printers to print books in their native language; this could have increased the literacy rate, in whatever country the printer was from. This allowed fro people to judge for themselves what they want to believe, and not just following what the church told them to believe.


The Bauhaus typeface was based on Herbert Bayer’s 1925 experimental Universal typeface. He was commissioned by Walter Gropius, because he wanted “a typeface for all Bauhaus communiqués.”(The Bauhaus) He only designed a lower-case version of the Bauhaus typeface. Herbert Bayer was an “Austrian-American graphic artist, painter, and architect.” He was influential in the spread of European principles of advertising to the United States. Before coming to the U.S. he studied typography from 1921 to 1923 at the Bauhaus school in Germany, and later returned there as a teacher. (Herbert) The Bauhaus typeface has an architectural quality to it because of its uniform stroke weight and its anti-humanistic curves. Much of the Bauhaus architecture has the same lines and curves also. It has open-ended strokes where counters would be created. The goal of the typeface was to be a uniform unique font that could be used for a variety of things. The effect that these two things had on the design world was huge. They are both unique for their times, showing that innovation is always happening. They both used existing technologies to make a book that shows what it takes to make a font and a typeface that could be used for anything. Also the Bauhaus typeface was never seen before, because it looks as if it was made and influenced by both humans and machines. The typeface was created for the Bauhaus school and spread from there. Since the stroke weights are the same though out each letter, it brings in a machined quality, and the curves that the

font exhibits bring in a humanist quality because the printing machines that were available during this time might not have been able to print such a crisp curve, but since the stroke was always the same weight as the rest of the font it was probably a least partially machine made. They were also alike because they both showed that real life objects could influence type design along with geometric shapes. They are different because of what they were influenced by, but both of the creators of these pieces had the same idea in mind. So it is surprising to me, even though they were separated by over 350 years, how much they are alike.


Work Cited

Bohm-Duchen, Monica. “MoMA | The Collection | Herbert Bayer.

(American, Born Austria. 1900-1985).” MoMA | The Museum of Modern Art. Oxford University Press, 2009. Web. 21 Nov. 2011.

“Herbert Bayer (Austrian-American Artist) -- Britannica Online

Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.

“Geoffroy Tory (French Printer) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.

“The Bauhaus.” An Introduction to the History of Graphic Design. Web. 21 Nov. 2011.


the champ-fleury vs bauhaus  

the champ-fleury vs bauhaus

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