Jan Tschichold – New Typography

German-born typographer Jan Tschichold revolutionized the field of graphic design with his bold, asymmetrical compositions, use of sanserif type, and exacting attention to detail.

Tschichold was the son of a provincial signwriter, and he was trained in calligraphy. This artisan background and calligraphic training set him apart from almost all other noted typographers of the time, since they had inevitably trained in architecture or the fine arts. Tschichold, perhaps the most visible proponent of modern graphic design prior to World War II, eventually embraced a more classical sensibility, raising that to a new level of refinement. Today, Tschichold remains one of the most important figures in the history of graphic design. Through his many books andarticles, showing that he was as much an explainer as a designer.



* Born April, 1902 in Leipzig, Germany.

* Tschichold attended the “Akademie for Grafische Künste and Buchgewerbe “in Leipzig from 1919 until 1921.

* 1923 freelanced as a commercial graphic artist.

* From 1926 until 1933, taught typography at Paul Renners Master Classes for Book Printers in Munich.

* 1928 saw the publication of perhaps his most influential work, The New Typography.

* 1933 Tschichold emigrated to Switzerland, where he worked for several publishers in

  Basel and taught at the School for the Applied Arts.

* In 1946 Tschichold went to London, where he was art director at Penguin Books until 1949.

* Between 1955 and 1967 he worked as a design consultant for the Basel pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche before retiring.


– 1928 saw the publication of perhaps his most influential work,

The New Typography.

Materials the Nazis deemed improper during World War Two

all copies of Tschichold’s  books, most likely ended up in the

mountains of burning books .







A better world by design

      WHAT’S THE POINT OF DESIGNING something gorgeous and useful if it makes us feel guilty, because we know that it’s ethically or environmentally irresponsible?
     At this time of unprecedented environmental, social and economic crises, should we be 
creating the deceptions that encourage continuous consumption or figuring out a way to 
help counter it?

     In a world where design has become a recognised corporate asset, designers and their 
clients have the opportunity to use their persuasive skills responsibly and to accelerate 
awareness. Just think of how quickly the plastic bag has become taboo in many countries. 
Designers create much of what the world sees, wants, buys, uses and experiences.
Imagine using their professional power, persuasive skills, and wisdom to help distribute 
ideas that the world really needs: health information, conflict resolution, tolerance, 
technology, freedom of the press, 
freedom of speech, human rights and democracy.
      Studies have found that up to 80% of a product’s environmental impacts are already locked in at the design stage when key decisions are made about materials, production, distribution, operation and end-of-life management.  Design can make an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. Making sustainable design affordable is a huge factor. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the life cycle of the product.
Factors to consider.
* Product need
* Product durability and longevity
* Specification of environmentally preferable materials
* Energy and water efficiency during manufacture and use
* Reduction or elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, toxic and hazardous substances and embodied energy

* Design for straightforward disassembly, reuse, refurbishment and recyclability

* Product stewardship such as take-back and recycling schemes

* Packaging minimisation

* User information and education


Design Can Change . Org ~ Will

Design Can Change is a website based initiative that focuses on Graphic Design and how it can be used for good. The site itself is an example on how graphic design can make a difference, providing interactive and informative articles on world issues such as climate change and sustainability, to help get the message across why it is important to design for change. Design Can Change is filled with info, ideas and articles on how as designers we can produce work that influences the public to think differently about the things we buy and they way we live.

“This site is focused around you, the designer, and why you have to become sustainable. By now, you know that embracing sustainable practices is simply necessary for any designer that wishes to stay competitive. But isn’t there more to it than that?

     Remember the first time one of your designs reached the public? If you are like us, you felt a wave of amazement, inspired by the fact that you could do something substantial with your craft. Suppose you were given the opportunity to regain that sense of accomplishment and delight?

     Perhaps this is the moment we have been waiting for, when we show the world that designers do impact positive change. This is our time to come together, engage in a global challenge, and present real solutions. You may feel differently, but for many of us, that’s the most exciting possibility we’ve ever been presented with.”


For a change Zimbabwean Chaz Maviyane-Davies. Justine Barratt


When controversial Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe announced in May 2000 that elections would be held in June, giving the opposition party little time to launch a campaign, Zibegan a month of “graphic activism.” Each day, he created one or two politically charged posters to counter ensuing voter intimidation by Mugabe’s government.

‘A lack of African criticism is worsening the crisis in Zimbabwe…’

Maviyane-Davies’ posters helped inspire an international community of support for fair elections in Zimbabwe. His works were posted daily to the website of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. They were also published in magazines and newspapers from South Africa to Sweden, made into screen savers, printed on T-shirts, and thrown out of vehicle windows in parts of rural Zimbabwe where the threat of state-sponsored preelection violence was high.

“I found it was the only way to keep my sanity in the center of an absurd and dangerous situation,” Maviyane-Davies says. So effective were the posters that Maviyane-Davies soon began to fear for his safety under the Mugabe regime, and in January 2001 he moved to the United States, where he is now a professor of graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.

Aiming to reclaim the power of the poster from corporate advertisers through “creative defiance,” the 55-year-old designer creates posters that he believes will inspire hope for a more just future not only in Zimbabwe but wherever human rights violations occur.

“If design can be used to sell jeans and perfume, then I will use it to fight for democracy and against injustice,”

Motivated by a desire to portray Africa through a lens that sees more than just war and famine, Maviyane-Davies created a poster series that celebrates the essence of 12 articles in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights from an African perspective.






Who is Mr. Brainwash?!? – Madii

Los Angeles based filmmaker and most recently pop artist Thierry Guetta A.K.A (Mr Brainwash)is responsible for one of Los Angeles most successful solo exhibitions “life is beautiful” . He has spent the better part of the last decade attempting to make the ultimate street art documentary. Meanwhile, inspired by his subjects, and being encouraged by none other than the one and only Banksy he started hitting the streets, from Los Angeles to Paris, with spray painted stencils and posters of his pop art inspired images. Ironically ended up being the centre of Banksy’s 2010 documentary “Exit through the gift shop”.

He rapidly emerged as a renowned figure on the international street art scene n addition to his widely recognized images, Life is Beautiful featured larger than life installations which included a 20-foot robot made of old televisions, a life-size recreation of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and a pyramid made from 20,000 books. Originally scheduled to open for only two weeks, the exhibit was extended for three months, attracting more than 30,000 visitors.The artwork attributed to Guetta strongly emulates the styles and artistic concepts of well-known street artists including Banksy and Shepard Fairy. Like Banksy, Guetta employs famous artistic and historic images, many of which are copyrighted, and amends the originals in slight or significant ways. Unlike Banksy, who is shown in the film creating his own work, Guetta states in the film that his work largely consists of “scanning and photoshopping,” acts which are carried out by hired assistants. Guetta further admits in Exit through the gift shop that most of the actual artistic process is carried out by hired graphic designers to whom he describes his ideas. In the film, he is not shown creating much artwork himself.






Project M – Michelle Davies

“We just want to change the world. Sure, we may not be known in the in circles… But, we do know how to save the rain forest with a waterproof book. We do know how to build a park with a postcard. And we know how to bring water to a community with a few pages of newsprint. We are part of a design movement. We believe that ability equals responsibility.”

Project M is an intensive summer  program designed to inspire young graphic designers, writers, photographers and other creative people that their work can have a positive and significant impact on the world.

John Bielenberg, pictured right, a Belfast, Maine, and San Francisco-based graphic designer, started Project M in 2003. This program was inspired by the work of Samuel Mockbee and Rural Studio. 

The Rural Studio brings architecture students to Hale County, Alabama, where they design, fund and build innovative housing and community projects.

The first group of Project M designers arrived in Maine for a month-long investigation into ‘Thinking Wrong’ in May of 2003. During that inaugural program, we produced a publication that pushed the traditional form and expectations of a book. The American Institute of Graphic Arts selected the book as one of the 50 best designed of the year.

Think Wrong Book

Other projects have included a communication project for the Guanacaste Conservation Area in Costa Rica,  a project with The Womens Trust, which does micro-financing in Ghana, where Project M purchased a used ambulance and converted it into a rolling design studio. Their first expedition was to deliver donated equipment and supplies to Gulf Coast designers displaced by hurricane Katrina. Another project involved a trip in the ambulance to East Baltimore where they created the “This is not grass” book, designed to encourage donations to build parks on abandoned urban lots in East Baltimore, and a water meter funding scheme called the Buy-a-meter campaign.

The Buy-a-meter campaign

Project M

Magazine story

Design Ignites Change 


Project Buy-a-meter

Project This is not Grass

Appropriation – Brett

Appropriation is to take possession of something. Appropriation artists deliberately copy images to take possession of them in their art. They are not stealing or plagiarizing. They are not passing off these images as their very own. Not at all. Appropriation artists want the viewer to recognize the images they copy, and they hope that the viewer will bring all of his/her original associations with the image to the artist’s new context, be it a painting, a sculpture, a collage, a combine or an entire installation.

The deliberate “borrowing” of an image for this new context is called “recontextualization.” Recontextualization helps the artist comment on the image’s original meaning and the viewer’s association with the original image or the real thing.

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can series is a prime example. These images are appropriated. He copied the original labels exactly, but filled up the picture plane with their iconic appearance. Unlike other garden-variety still-lifes, these works look like portraits of a soup can. The brand is the image’s identity.

Warhol isolated the image of these products to stimulate product recognition (just like in advertising) and stir up associations with the idea of Campbell’s soup – that mmm mmm good feeling. He also tapped into a whole bunch of other associations, such as consumerism, commercialism, big business, fast food, middle class values, and food representing love. As an appropriated image, these specific soup labels could resonate with meaning (like a stone tossed into a pond) and so much more.

Warhol’s use of popular imagery became part of the Pop art movement.


Other well-known Appropriation artists are Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Louise Lawler, Gerhard Richter, Yasumasa Morimura, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.