Carlo Belloli, Carlo Vivarelli, Citroen 2CV, Citroen DS, club auto moto d'epoca Reggiano, Convertibles, culture, design, Design history, education, family, Graphic design, Hans Neuburg, Illinois Institute of Design, International typographic style, Italy, Jossef Mueller Brockmann, lifestyle, Max Bill, Neue Grafik, Ray Pearson, Richard Paul Lohse, typography, www.camerclub.it
Lay out, typeface, printing quality, ease in reading, all of these and much more are components of a style in graphic design. This style is called constructivism, modernism.
A lot of information can be found on this subject on the internet, in college libraries, in private enterprises like design galleries or by collectors who willingly share content on line.
Much of these trends and ideas go back to either the German Bauhaus or the Dutch De Stijl influence, that parallels the Italian Futurist Movement and the Russian avant-garde (suprematism). One of the key figures in Swiss graphic design was the painter and artist Richard Paul Lohse (1902-1988). From 1958 he became one of the editors of a new multi-lingual quarterly Swiss magazine called Neue Grafik (1958-1965) together with Josef Mueller-Brockmann (1914-1996), Hans Neuburg (1904-1983) and the Italian designer Carlo Vivarelli (1919-1986).
Shown below are some photos of issue number 3 from 1959 largely devoted to Italian graphic design written by Carlo Belloli, Italian artist, art critic and concrete-style poet, but also including an important overview of the Basic Workshop program in Chicago, Illinois by Ray Pearson (follow this link for an interesting article in Shaker designs) at the Illinois Institute of Design.
Evident throughout the magazine is the division of the page in columns, the so called grid system. So prevalent was this type of page layout in the sixties and early seventies that it became the standard of modernism used by Max Bill and Herbert Bayer.
Here is an example of how the French used it in their automobile manuals. For example Citroen, the French avant-garde car manufacturer. Having owned several Citroens (a door panel van version of the 2CV) and an early Chapron coach built rare DS 1963 convertible with right hand drive and Jaeger instruments, I can attest to that. (that is how a masochist falls in love with a car!)
The top manual in the photo is from the early 1960’s the bottom one is from the last years of 2CV production early 1982.The top one has just a logo and is in 2 colors throughout. Photographs are neatly divided on the page following the column layout. The illustrations work well in black on green, a good example of the grid system.
In the later manual, the legibility is different, busier throughout even though the pointers seem logical and are in neat but larger blocks of text, the shades of gray add little and the use of the green color as a highlight does not seem thought out well. It appears coherent but is a watered down version of the International typographic style.
The use of the color green in this photograph makes sense, but the captioning and text placement does not help legibility. What a difference 20 years of design makes! Those willing to take a six minute drive in an icon of design, the Chapron DS (no not mine alas) have a look. Easy to get sidetracked with all those memories at the end of a post.