At the beginning of the twentieth
century they unabashedly confronted their society through
design. Surrounded by chaos—industrialization, technological upheaval, world war—they sought
order and meaning. These artists spoke in manifestos and created posters, books, magazines, and typefaces using strikingly new visual vocabularies. They embraced mass communication; they abandoned easels. They treated the aesthetic conventions of symmetry and ornament
like stale leftovers to be scourged at all costs. Instead the avant-garde looked to the machine for inspiration—sleek, functional, efficient, powerful. They tried to discover
forms that were fitting
for the new modern world. Through
such experiments they explored asymmetrical layout, activated white space, serial design, geometric typefaces
, and universality
. Out of their sweat, movements sprang up—futurism, Dadaism, De Stijl, constructivism, New Typography. Their ideas clashed and converged to form the modern foundation from which the graphic design industry emerged
|Graphic Design Theory
F. T. Marinett i broke the symm etrical page. He cracked it apart and then put it back together using bits and pieces of type, printers’ marks, and ads. First and foremost, he was a poet, but when in 1909 he published the “Manifesto of Futurism” in Le Figaro, a Paris newspaper, he embarked on a modern crusade that took him far beyond the realm of verse. In fact, it took him into the middle of a fledgling discipline called “graphic design.” Marinetti was a showman, a scoundrel, and a fascist, but he matters today. Mainly out of economy and convenience, he used print to communicate with the masses—posters, books, flyers. He bent and twisted typography to better suit his poetry and his overall message of noise, speed, and aggression. In the end, the concrete, visual nature of type stood at the forefront of his work, exposed. He challenges us even now to embrace the future—in his words, to “exalt” in the “punch and the slap,” to believe that entirely new forms are not only possible but imminent.
4. We say that the world’s magnificence
has been enriched by a new beauty
: the beauty of speed
. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot—is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.
7. Except in struggle
, there is no more beauty. No work without an aggressive character can be a masterpiece. Poetry must be conceived as a violent attack on unknown forces, to reduce and prostrate them before man.
8. We stand on the last promontory of the centuries! . . . Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the Impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed.
9. We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.
11. We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot; we will sing of the multicolored, polyphonic tides of revolution in the modern capitals; we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervor of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric moons; greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents; factories hung on clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with a glitter of knives; adventurous steamers that sniff the horizon; deep chested locomotives whose wheels paw the tracks like the hooves of enormous steel horses bridled by tubing; and the sleek flight of planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd.