The Cyclical Politics of Graphic Design Essay

1811 Words Jan 30th, 2014 8 Pages
The history of graphic art and the cycle of politicization, depoliticization and then repoliticization span the late 19th century through and into the 21st century. Evolving from humble beginnings into the commercial behemoth it’s become to today this essay will explore graphic design’s evolution and the politics that affected this growing art movement during this influential timeline.
Graphic design set its first roots in Germany in 1455 with the introduction of the Blackletter typeface and Johannes Gutenberg’s Gutenberg Bible. Coined as the godfather of printing Gutenberg helped to spread Blackletter in popularity. With the advent of Martin Luther’s New Testament, however, a schism was created between those that chose to use
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Graphic and commercial artist of this time like A.M. Cassdandre took pieces of these art movements and incorporated them into his work for the commercial realm. His poster for a train car named, Wagon Bar, is a perfect example of Purism and Art Deco combining for advertising purposes.
De Stijl, which has many things in common with Purism was a movement meant to also create harmony after World War I. Conceptually they were very similar and kept the message of spirituality and intrinsic beauty present, unlike in the commercial realm of advertising. However the aesthetics were stripped down, using asymmetry, positive use of negative space and basing the art on an orthogonal grid. There was nothing individualistic about this art. When the war ended in Russia its empire was bankrupt and its emperor and the entire Russian aristocracy were overthrown, communism rose and with it Russian Constructivism. Unlike De Stijl’s spiritual nature, Constructivism was fueled in the beginning by an ongoing civil war, the Bolsheviks propaganda posters and heavy white and red color symbolism. This left Russian artists little to no room to work outside of Constructivism. Russia was medieval in its agriculture and industry and therefore artists were considered as highly sought after engineers and problem solvers. All completed art was done in service for the government and the idea of individualistic art was further denigrated.
During an unstable chaotic time after the war Germany suffered

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