dadaism to sans serif

missgiggles's picture

During Dadaism, what kind of typography was used? I know for a fact that because of the war, everyone was very much against it and started desining outrageous things so does that mean that san serif came to be when designers took off the serifs of Roman influenced lettering? Is that the cause of it and is that how Bauhaus took san serif a step further? where does slab serif come into all this though? And during the 20th century, we see a variety of movements fron Art Deco to Art Noveau to the hippy 70's style type. Is this because society's attitudes changed towards lifestyles etc that everything stated having 'styles-movements' to them? Is it because people wanted to see new innovative things that made designers experiment more with type? what is your theory?

cerulean's picture

Marcel Duchamp said "The only thing worse than a serif typeface is a sans-serif typeface," and invented Dingbats as a reaction to what he called "the tyranny of the alphabet." Other Dadaists, perhaps misinterpreting his comment, strived to create faces that were neither serif nor sans-serif, and among the styles to arise from these efforts were slabs and flares. This is recounted on p216 of I Did Seek The Serif by Egbert Gebbinforte, Harper-Mifflin Books, 1998.

pattyfab's picture

It's "sans serif" or "sans-serif" not "san serif". If you're going to study/obsess over type you should at least get your terminology straight.

timd's picture

Sans serifs and slab serifs pre-dated Dada by almost 100 years.
It is dangerous to make sweeping statements like everyone was against the war so they started designing outrageous things, however I think you can safely say that most of the world were indifferent, if they weren't vehemently opposed, to Dada typography.
Tim

missgiggles's picture

sorry that was how tutor explained it and he isn't very fluent in English so sorry again Tim.

wolfgang_homola's picture

'What is Dada?
Art? Philosophy? Politics?
Fire insurance?
Or state religion?
Is Dada real energy?
Or is it nothing, i.e. everything?'

'Those who are starving only prove that they don't have any faith in their government.'

'Join Dada!'


391
No. 14 (Paris, November 1920)
Edited by Francis Picabia
page 3


391
No. 14 (Paris, November 1920)
Edited by Francis Picabia
page 5


391
No. 15 (Paris, 10 July 1920 )
Edited by Francis Picabia
cover


Cannibale
Edited by Francis Picabia
No. 2 (Paris, 25 May 1920)
page 15


Le Coeur a barbe.
Edited by Tristan Tzara. Paris, 1922
cover


Dada
Edited by Tristan Tzara
No. 7 (Paris, March 1920)
cover


Der Dada
Edited by Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, and George Grosz.
No. 1 (Berlin, June 1919)
cover


Der Dada
Edited by Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, and George Grosz.
No. 2 (Berlin, December 1919)
cover


Der Dada
Edited by Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, and George Grosz.
No. 2 (Berlin, December 1919)
page 6


Der Dada
Edited by Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, and George Grosz.
No. 3 (April 1920)
cover


Der Dada
Edited by Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, and George Grosz.
No. 3 (April 1920)
back cover


Die freie Strasse
Ed. by Raoul Hausmann and Johannes Baader.
No. 9 (Berlin, November 1918)
page 2


Merz
Edited by Kurt Schwitters
No. 2 (Hanover, April 1923)
cover


Merz
Edited by Kurt Schwitters and El Lissitzky
No. 8/9 (Hanover, April-July 1924)
cover


Zenit
Edited by Ljubomir Micic.
No. 17-18 (Belgrade, September 23, 1922)
cover


George Grosz. Das Gesicht der herrschenden Klasse: 57 politische Zeichnungen . 3rd, expanded ed. Berlin: Malik Verlag, 1921.
page 7


Iliazd (Ilia Zdanevich). Lidantiu faram (Ledantu le phare: Poeme dramatique en Zaoum). Paris 1923


Erste internationale Dada-Messe: Katalog. Berlin, 1920. Texts by Wieland Herzfelde and Raoul Hausmann
page 4

For these publications and much more see:
http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/dada/collection.htm

timd's picture

No need to apologise.
http://www.typophile.com/node/19482

this thread will give you something to read about the origins of sans serif or are you more interested in art movements and typography, because the Futurists and Vorticists are worth looking at too.

Tim

Edit: Great selection, Wolfgang

cuttlefish's picture

What is that font on the right edge of

391
No. 14 (Paris, November 1920)
Edited by Francis Picabia
page 5

?

It looks a little bit like one I'm working on.

poms's picture

Danke Wolfgang!

blank's picture

Sans-serif type got respect after Dada, not from it. Dada (along with other things) made rule-breaking much more acceptable (at least in the art world), and probably inspired some of the appearance of sans type in areas other than the commercial jobs where it was seen before. But what really brought out sans type was the work done at the Meisterschule and the Bauhaus, which became an international phenomenon after the publication of Tschichold's The New Typography.

Style movements are related to the attitudes and needs of a society, and as we understand them they are constructs of historians who create terminology that eases discussion. It's important to keep that in mind because there are a lot of styles that get lumped together (ie. arts and crafts, art nouveau, and jungendstil) and in-between periods that get lost in the cracks. Going much deeper than that is the sort of thing that could fill up an entire graduate education.

Solipsism's picture

I am still incredulous and very skeptical that these (anti)artists actually randomly chose the word dada. But that's just me. That there was a Dada exhibit in Paris and NYC goes against the grain of the spirit of Dada. But even this is too codifying for a process that attempted to take the rug out of the rug that someone is standing on.

So to ask what typefaces the Dada people used is absolutely absurd (but not absurd like the dada way, whatever that may be).

Ringo's picture

Dada disliked everything what was liked before - or just used it in an 'improper' way.

Do children prefer sans or serif? They just don't care.

Btw, great collection, Wolfgang.

pattyfab's picture

I'm told Dada was the first thing I learned how to say. But at that age I didn't know a sans serif from my elbow.

Thanks for the visuals Wolfgang.

Nick Shinn's picture

In 1969 I won the Art prize at school. The arrangement was that you went to the bookstore and chose the book you'd like, and then it was delivered to the school, who put the appropriate label in it, and stamped the school crest on the cover in gold foil. This was thought out in the days when cloth covers were the norm, so it was a shock at first to receive my prize from the headmaster and see the crest disrespectfully slapped onto the Hans Arp work shown on the cover. But really, was that brilliant or what?!

ben_archer's picture

Wow! Wolfgang that was some slideshow you put on there! Thanks.

Nick, I have the same book but of course minus the (fabulously dadaesque) gold foil crest. My copy was an 18th birthday present from my stepfather.

MissG I would recommend Lewis Blackwell's 20th Century Type:remix to you for an overview of the relationship between various art movements & typographic design in the last 100 years. It should be in your college library. It has some dada imagery, but this thread is already visually richer than many books I know of.

lore's picture

because the Futurists and Vorticists are worth looking at too.
Don't forget the Situationist's approach to typography, also interesting and influential.

Solipsism's picture

My friend related a funny story about those hand held guides that are usually found at museums. This was for the Dada exhibit at MoMA this summer:

"While I was there I saw two people holding those tv remote looking things standing in front of the Picabia piece. They kept typing 291 and couldn't seem to figure out why it wasn't working."

wolfgang_homola's picture

Hugo Ball, performing his sound poem 'Karawane' at the Cabaret Voltaire (23. 6. 1916):


... and this is how it sounded:
http://www.epc.buffalo.edu/sound/mp3/sp/ball_hugo/ball_various.mp3

wolfgang_homola's picture

... but if you prefer Kurt Schwitters' 'Ursonate',
go to this website and click on 'Ursonate':
http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2006/dada/artwork/sound.shtm

wolfgang_homola's picture

Kurt Schwitters also designed a 'Systemschrift' (a typeface designed in a systematic way as to represent sounds) in three different variants, but it was never produced as a typeface then. Schwitters just used it in some of his posters and he published an article in the Dutch avantgarde magazine 'i10' about his proposal of this typeface.

The article (with some illustrations of his proposal for this typeface) is reprinted in Kurt  Schwitters: Das literarische Werk. Book 5 ('Manifeste und kritische Prosa') edited by Friedhelm Lach. (1998) Köln. DuMont Verlag
(unfortunately only in German)

One of the three variants of his Systemschrift was published as a digital typeface by The Foundry several years ago. You can find it on:
http://www.foundrytypes.co.uk

Go to 'Foundry typefaces' and to 'Architype collection 2'

One of Schwitters theories for his typeface was that since vowels are pronounced longer and stronger than consonants the letters for vowels should be broader and bolder than the letters for consonants. Also the vouwels are therefore round and the consonants are (rect)angular.

Ringo's picture

One of Schwitters theories for his typeface was that since vowels are pronounced longer and stronger than consonants the letters for vowels should be broader and bolder than the letters for consonants. Also the vouwels are therefore round and the consonants are (rect)angular.
Ouch, he wasn't particularly a linguist, was he?

kostal's picture

Wolfgang, that Hugo Ball mp3 is out of this world! Thanks for sharing. This thread makes me dada.

fredo's picture

I visited the André Breton exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou in ’91. At heart never a big fan of his grand pretensions I still spent three or more hours there. Just before I left I heard an infant in a perambulator loudly say DADA! I remember I found it refreshing.

ƒ

lore's picture

According to my Enciclopedia dell'Arte Garzanti the term Dada was adopted randomly maybe by someone looking through a French dictionary (the expression Dada is used for "toy"). Tzara said: Dada doesn't mean anything, it's a product of the mouth".

fredo's picture

I vaguely recall Hugo Ball explaining it in his autobiography Flight out of time as a name chosen by himself and Richard Huelsenbeck when they were looking for a stage name for a primadonna at the Cabaret Voltaire. Tzara, brilliant as he was, pretty much hijacked it and claimed it was his own discovery, to the others dismay. What the actual truth behind it all is I have no clue. Personally I don't think it matters much where it came from or who 'invented' it.

ƒ

dezcom's picture

One of my fondest memories of design school at Carnegie Mellon was hearing Dick Beaman, my art history professor, recite by heart (and with great gusto) a DaDa poem in a lecture hall filled with 19 year olds. Dick was a grey-haired man with middle aged paunch and looked more like an accountant than a painter. He had a very subtle humor which took some time to sink in for most students. His loud, screaming presentation of the DaDa poem well exceeded his usual mild inflectioned presentation. At that moment, all who had yet to "get him" quickly "got him".

http://306.exeter.edu/publications/exeter/alumni_profiles/beaman_28.htm

ChrisL

Syndicate content Syndicate content