BAUHAUS: Principles of Design

The Bauhaus, the first-ever design school, opened in Germany in 1919. It established the principles of design that current graphic designers still use.

The Bauhaus was founded in Weimar by Walter Gropius, then moved to Dessau, and was then closed down because of Nazi control. Many of the designers who were professors there moved to the United States, and opened the Chicago Institute of Art–the “American Bauhaus.”

The art professors came from all over the world. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Herbert Bayer had perhaps the greatest influence on modern design. The Bauhaus designers were the first to use sans-serif typography, and synthesized De Stijl and Constructivist ideas.

Moholy-Nagy Photography

Moholy-Nagy was one of the first to experiment with photography, using lighting and exposure to manipulate his art. Herbert Bayer was a professor of typography.

Herbert Bayer, Cover of Bauhaus Magazine

Bayer was the first to use boldface words and organization to show a hierarchy of information on a page, and created the first all-lowercase typography. His design theories are still taught in today’s design schools.

The first modern art school, The Bauhaus dissolved the line between fine art and applied art. Architects, sculptors, painters, carpenters, etc. all worked together. The school was looking forward, embracing modern art and the new urban culture of the 20th century.


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