Jan Tschichold (2 April 1902 Leipzig, Germany – 11 August 1974 Locarno, Switzerland) (born as Johannes Tzschichhold, also Iwan Tschichold, Ivan Tschichold) was a calligrapher, typographer and book designer. He played a significant role in the development of graphic design in the 20th century – first, by developing and promoting principles of typographic modernism, and subsequently (and ironically) idealizing conservative typographic structures. His direction of the visual identity of Penguin Books in the decade following World War II served as a model for the burgeoning design practice of planning corporate identity programs. He also designed the much-admired typeface Sabon.
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German avant-garde typographer developed an early interest in calligraphy through his father, who was a sign painter and designer. He studied at the Leipzig Academy of Book Design from 1919 to 1922 under Hermann Delitsch, and subsequently went to work in the design department of Insel Verlag. Exposure to Russian constructivism and the Bauhaus formed his early typographic style and theories. In 1925 he published his first treatise, "Elementare Typographie," in which he examined the typographic work of El Lissitzky. Tschichold defined the elements of asymmetrical typography, and advocated for the use of sans-serif typefaces. In 1928 he published "Die Neue Typographie, " further refining his theories. In 1933 he was expelled from Germany under the Nazis for creating "un-German" typography. He relocated to Switzerland where he continued to design and teach. In his third book, "Typographische Gestaltung," he turns away from "the new typography" as he comes to associate its rigid style with totalitarianism in general. At this point his work begins to resemble the classical and symmetric style that he had criticized in his youth. He remained in Switzerland for the rest of his life, except for three years (1946-1949) in London where he redesigned the Penguin paperback line.
German, Swiss
Artist, Writer, Teacher, Designer, Typographer, Graphic Designer, Theorist
Jan Tschichold, Johannes Tschichold
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License