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Jan Tschichold Essay

One only needs to go back to the turn of the twentieth century to discover
the roots and intertwining movements that led to what we call today the Modern Movement.
The great breakthrough period a stretch of almost twenty years, that separates modern typography from earlier typographics, started with the publication of the Futurist manifesto in 1909 and peaked in the late twenties.Futurism was a violent reaction by artists and writers against the status quo which symbolised failure to make life worth living.
The advent of photography, economic and social forces and new philosophical attitudes also contributed to the development of new attitudes toward communication design. The Futurists ignored the constraints of metal typography and letterpress printing. Horizontalism was out, Type at any angle was in. The big thing in Futurist design was shock and contrast.
Another major departure from straight realistic thinking was the development in the early 1900's of Cubism. This art represented objects (that weren't totally abstract) in a new way, Still life was now envisioned as a compromise of shape and shifting volumes of planes. This was a strong departure from the 400 year old Renaissance tradition. Unlike Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau, Cubism focused on geometric stylizations that moved away from detail but played on technique and style, as to overwhelm the subject. With the outbreak of Futurism the evolution in painting,poetry and prose became a revolution. The split between what the artist's eyes saw and the poets mind understood and what and how they painted and wrote became a casm.
Several other movements continued this break with realistic representation by image or word. They were Dadaism, Surrealism, and Non-representational art. Parallel to these developments in extreme art , the Eastern and Westernareas of Europe were making attempts to capture the vitality of the new art forms, whil…

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