The Bauhaus was the most influential modernist art school of the 20th century as it laid many foundations for design theory and helped us understand the importance of art in relation to society and technology. Although the school was in operation only between 1919 and 1933, it was a major influence in the fields of architecture, graphic design, typography, industrial design and interior design long after it has closed.
Origin of Bauhaus
Technology and social change have long been vital in the evolution of graphic design and its importance in the society. In particular was the Industrial Revolution between 1760 and 1840, which brought about the transformation from agrarian to industrialized societies across Europe and America. Mass production was made possible by new technologies; availability and variety of goods increased and cost of manufacturing decreased, accompanied by the higher standard of living for many people. A consequence of mass production on graphic design was that it led to the demise of the unity between design and production. Craftsmen were replaced by modern technologies, sacrificing artistry for speed and cheaper production.
The Arts and Crafts movement, led by William Morris, was established in the 1860s as a response against the manufacturing of low quality goods due to industrialization. He also felt that the society was degrading as a result of this. The philosophy behind the Art and Crafts movement was that the Industrial Revolution had taken artistry and design away from of the quality of goods produced. The goal was to advocate a return to craftsmanship and enable individual craftsmen to assert their own creative independence. More importantly, the movement wanted to promote moral and social health through high quality design. Despite its high ideals, the Arts and Crafts movement was not sustainable and it ended in 1910 due to its opposition to modern methods of production in a world that is progressively moving towards mechanization. In addition, the economies of scale worked against their goal of bringing good design to the masses. In its dissolution, however, it left behind a great legacy - the appreciation of the interrelation between design and quality of life - which eventually culminated in the foundation of Bauhaus movement.
The Bauhaus (1919-1933)
The Bauhaus, which literally means "house of building" in German, was founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius. The Bauhaus was very much shaped by the Arts and Crafts movement and it is based on the same philosophy that fine arts and practical crafts should unite and its purpose is to service the needs of people. The significance of mass production and its effects on design and aesthetics was a central idea for both movements, but this was also the main point of difference between the two. They both agreed that the industrialized production of goods had transformed the world but the Arts and Crafts movement was anti-industrial...