As part of my role at ECAL, I worked on the research project “Sources of The New Typography”, which was conducted by a team led by Matthieu Cortat and Davide Fornari at ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne (HES-SO) between 2019 and 2022.
The project, exhibition and conference draw on the ever-growing literature on Jan Tschichold, his 1928 book Die neue Typographie (The New Typography, TNT) and the New Typography as a manifestation of Modernism in the printed media. Design scholars have explored the international impact of TNT by looking at issues of mediation and dissemination, as well as by addressing the ways in which Tschichold’s ideas were incorporated into everyday practice. While TNT has been acclaimed as the curtain raiser of modern graphic design, the sources cited by Tschichold in it have been understudied also because of their difficult identification.
The research project reconstructed the body of bibliographical sources in an attempt to provide a better understanding of the larger cultural context of TNT. The team identified all the sources and collected them as either original or facsimile edition whereas possible or produced new replicas. They then explored their impact at the time of publication and analysed their relation to TNT.
The collection of books is made available as a travelling exhibition titled “Unpacking Tschichold’s Library”. This is intended as a pedagogical tool for exploring the context of graphic design in the 1920s.
An international conference in Lausanne on April 26, 2023 gathers design history scholars to address the lineage of TNT and its impact on different national scenes.
Still lives: Nicolas Polli
Exhibition Design: Work Matter
Graphic design: Federico Barbon Studio
Installation views: Marvin Merkel