In the Penrose Annual, 1956 is an interesting and comprehensive, (although very wordy as was the style then) article on American Graphic Design written by Peter Selze and Robert Kostka. It has a number of excellent illustrations which I will share over 2 posts.
The article outlines the importance of the post-war influence of the arrival in the USA; of people like Gropius, Van Der Rohe, Breuer, Mondrian, Moholy-Nagy, Gabo, Leger, Bayer, etc. As well as influencing trends with their own work many of them were active as teachers. Gropius & Breuer at Harvard, Vander Rohe at Illinois I.T., & Moholy-Nagy, Keyes and Chermayeff at the Institute of Design in Chicago.
It also outlines how strongly graphic design of the time was influenced by painting which “affected visual communication on all levels from exhibition design to advertisement and record covers” It was felt that the most “over-worked” influence at the time was Mondrian. Irving Titel, a Chicago designer is quoted as saying “Design always mirrors the world or painting…usually much watered down. If there is a tendency towards formalism in painting, designers will immediately seize upon it. The formula soon emerges as a profitable style”
The article goes on to discuss the influences of architectural style and changes in technology, which I will summarise in the next post…but for now some of the wonderful examples of Graphic Design from the article: