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White Gray Black

Jan Tschichold (Swiss, born Germany. 1902–1974)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

German graphic designer and writer. He was the son of a sign painter and studied at the Academy of Book Design, Leipzig (1919–22), before working as a freelance designer. Influenced by Soviet Constructivism (especially the work of El Lissitzky) and the Bauhaus exhibition in Weimar in 1923 , he published ‘Elementare Typographie’ (Typographische Mitteilungen, Oct 1925) and Die neue Typographie (Berlin, 1928), widely read among young designers, in which he promoted the functional use of sans serif typefaces and asymmetrical layouts.

Having been appointed in 1925 to teach at the Meisterschule für Deutschlands Buchdrucker in Munich, Tschichold was arrested by the Nazis in March 1933, accused of advocating radical ideas (Kulturbolschevismus), and dismissed from teaching. Released from ‘protective custody’ after six weeks, he moved to Basle, Switzerland, worked as a book designer and published what he later called a ‘more prudent’ manifesto, Typographische Gestaltung (1935). Re-examining his earlier writings, he decided that he should abandon the new typography because it reminded him of the totalitarian severity of National Socialism and fascism. In addition, he decided that some serif typefaces were often more appropriate and more legible than sans serif. Invited to England in 1947, he redesigned Penguin Books, using classical serif typefaces and symmetrical designs. As a designer of typography, he was the inventor of Sabon. He returned to Switzerland in 1949, where he continued to write and design.

Roy R. Behrens
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press


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