This week’s discussion for Unit 5 was based on Wolfgang Weingart and the New Wave Design. To start the session, my class and I sat through a short presentation given by a student on the same course as me, and they had researched the subject ready for this discussion so he knew what to talk about. We sat through the presentation which summed up the basics of the topic. To help us get an understanding of everything, we got shown some videos that were related to the subject which I have attached to this post.
During the presentation I took some key notes which are:
- Main designers involved were Wolfgang Weingart and Dan Friedman.
- The movement started in Germany in the late 1960’s and later spread to the US.
- The main inspiration for their designs was Swiss Typography.
- Designers such as David Carson work in a similar style.
- The aim of the designs were to break rules so they layered and collaged things.
- Punk was really popular at the time and it reflected in the designs, the idea of rebelling and being different was a key focus.
- Anti-War and Peace was very big at the time also as it was just after the war.
After watching the presentation including the videos, we then sat and thought of a question each that we wanted to ask, and we then finalized that the question should be: Why did Weingart do something different but never intend to make it a style?
To start the discussion, we looked at the question and tried to answer it for ourselves. Weingart had never intended for his style to become so big, as it was something he was doing personally for himself and he had never set out to influence other designers and designs. We then wondered why he did this or if it was that he never realised it would inspire others. That then led on to talk about this in more detail so we came to the conclusion that it was originally for his own personal reasons but it seemed to become a massive movement in design. We then discussed whether it was him that started New Wave design and the answer ended up being a yes and it was around the time of 1968 which was the very start of this design movement. We discussed the actual style of work too, and we knew from looking at designs that it was very typographic and the whole point of the designs were to break the rules and be rebellious like the influential “Punk” style going on at the time. We then went on to say that New Wave was way more expressive through their designs and were a lot more design based. There was less structure, especially when compared against designs from the international style era. Then we went on to talk about whether or not Weingart really did use any grids at all in his designs so we said that he probably started off with a grid design but used it in a less obvious way breaking the rules. Talking about the grid design, it made us think more about the content and we noticed it was very typographic which we then focused quite heavily on it. Whilst doing that, we noticed that the typography was always very different. We then thought about how Weingart would have been trained and discussed how he would have been a typesetter, meaning that he would use traditional printing blocks and leading to create the basis of his designs. After setting up the basic designs he would have printed it, cut it up and then re-arranged it into a new format, layering the designs which created a very different style to what had been done previously. By thinking about this in more depth, it made my class and I think about how this became a starting point for this technique and how it later on developed a lot further. This was the start of the collage technique and it didn’t take long for it to become a massive deal for everyone, and it to be used by loads of designers. We then thought about how Weingart would have trained. We discussed that he would have been a typesetter, using traditional printing blocks and leading. The typographic elements such as the leading was consistent in some areas of his work and he would have set up the design, printed, cut up and rearranged the design into a new format, the New Wave. The designs used layering, something very different to the international style. The starting point to this technique was to use forms of photocopying and half tone print to add surface and texture. Collage techniques had been used that were starting to be seen in art and design in the same era. The International style was very legible and used for advertising and corporate work where as the emphasis on New Waves design was not always legible. I feel that Weingart would have passed on his ideas about design, it could have been accidental by encouraging his students to try new ideas and style. His students then would have taken his ideas all over the world. We then realized that in the 1970s, punk was in fashion in the UK. The artwork in New Wave reflects some of the fashion in the punk era. Ripped up clothes pieced together. This new style was also known a Post Modernism. Weingarts students would eventually have gone on to start using some of the early digital techniques in design. Layering up images , photos and typography. David Carson a designer, went on to develop a similar style, breaking the rules of type and layout. His designs were less structured and bled off the page like the new wave design. He did not stick to the rules of grids either and he started to layer p his work.
Overall, Weingart started a new style of design and that then developed into the design we see today. His work accidently became something that influenced his students and designers throughout the 70s and 80s and his designs showed a more creative and experimental side of graphic design as it broke the rules against the international style.