What appeals to us now—drama, sci-fi, violence—any room for being human?

The German Bauhaus was an effort to bring the arts, craftsmanship, graphic design, industrial design, and art/architecture together within a unified academic school of thought. This effort occurred between the two World Wars. Visionaries like Walter Gropius saw a window of time open and he and his followers entered with high expectations and confidence in a better quality of life through ART.

One of the leading graphic designers and typographers at the Bauhaus, first as a student and then as a teacher/professor, was Joost Schmidt. Like Gropius, Schmidt had tapped into the energy of the ‘tween years’ (years between WWI and WWII) and applied his insight into his graphic design and printmaking.

From Joost Schmidt’s Bauhaus classroom/studio, came a plethora of images energized by such ‘modern’ elements as plainness, straightforward simplicity, ease of transitioning into mass production, solid retention of the integrity of craft materials used in honest and seemingly natural forms, eye-candy streamlined aesthetics, and fixed into visible form through an assured hand of ‘modernity’!

What are your thoughts on the work of Joost Schmidt which is approaching 100 years of age?

Photograph of Bauhaus Graphic Designer Joost Schmidt
Joost Schmidt, Staatliches Bauhaus Musstelung, 1923 (State Bauhaus Announcement)
Joost Schmidt, Dessau Aufgrund Alter Kultur, 1931

(Dessau on the Ground of Old Culture)

Published by: roberttracyphd

Academic professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I teach theory courses in Art and Architecture History. In addition, I also curate exhibitions on campus as well as in other venues nationally and internationally.

33 Comments

33 thoughts on “What appeals to us now—drama, sci-fi, violence—any room for being human?”

  1. When I took an art class a few semesters ago, we had a heavy focus on the fundamentals of design. To go a long with that, we inevitably learned about Bauhaus. I think that one major thing I took away from that class was that making things simple is not as easy as it seems. To make something be in a simple form and yet be aesthetically pleasing is not that “simple.” From my own experience, sometimes it can be harder to do such a thing. I think that is what makes Joost Schmidt’s work to be simple but timeless in its aesthetic. I also came to like the intersection of art with design and craftsmanship. It’s a type of aesthetic that really plays with the balance of color, shape, form, and space. I think Joost Schmidt’s work is a good example of such an intersection. His work, like much of how I feel about Bauhaus and the art it was able to produce, is very beautiful and pleasing to the eye.

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  2. When I think about the Bauhaus style and the art that was created by Joost Schmidt, I find that these collage type styled pieces makes for a very interesting turn in its time. The aesthetic and appealing design helps viewers see things that you wouldn’t normally see in one picture, yet each part finds a way to connect and relate to one another. This style and way of bringing pieces together create a new type of harmony that helps bring in the mood. The typography and the geometry help bring in a symmetrical harmony and I find that this style has been used quite frequently in recent times. An evolution that I have observed in this style is looping and moving graphics that are created in this style. Pieces move in a symmetrical way, but move in a fluid-like way, exposing more shapes and hidden typography. What an influence this style has become.

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  3. Jonathan Quinones
    Bauhaus developed a passion for the relationship between art, society, and technology. His type of graphic design incorporated typography, photography, and industrial design. Bahus defines fine art as visual art that combines different art disciplines that tell a story and create a political statement between world war I and war II. Bahus encouraged artists to pursue their crafts together in design studios and workshops. I like how Bahus creates 3-dimensional objects on a 2-dimensional surface; he accomplished these techniques by applying a linear perspective and adding volume to shapes. Some of his art to was featured in newspapers and magazines.

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  4. Joost Schmidt’s work is iconic and inspired by the major events and happenings of the time period. Images that draw inspiration from WWl and WWll are pretty apparent in his work. Schmidt’s designs are clean and sophisticated with strong composition. I think Schmidt’s work and other artists of the Bauhaus movement really made a mark in the world of graphic design. In particular, Schmidt can turn a 2D plane into an illusionary 3D space. The mix of photographic realism with flat elements and text make for a varied and interesting piece. Usually, things like this are not utilized in the way Schmidt put them together. Today I can see posters and album covers that resemble Schmidt’s style. The clear iconography and sleekness of his designs are really attractive.

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  5. Joost Schmidt’s work definitely is iconic and the Bauhaus movement is world famous for their vision and creativity. It is evident that the Bauhaus group is instrumental in the world of design and became the fundamental building blocks for the debate on function or form. The group and Schmidt’s work displayed an accuracy, straightforwardness, and simplicity. What I find very interesting is when using some of the Bauhaus principles and combining them with elements as it fills the space – such as collaging. In this era of turmoil, the Bauhaus learned and simplified what society knew as art and crafted guidelines in order to teach these things at their prestigious school. I knew a little bit of design from courses I’ve taken and I feel that design courses should be taught earlier to help students understand the mathematics in design so that they can grow and create something new.

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  6. I tried to understand this nature of work. At first I wasn’t too sure so I had to sit on and continuously look at the Bauhaus movement. I then understood that their works were genius. Joost was indeed a master of arts. I think with these pieces it does make my eyes move around the whole image. Mixing in the geometrical shapes and the typography created a congruous image. I can understand how it brought a new inspirational look of dong art.

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  7. I think Joost Schmidt’s style of work is still relevant today. He was a pioneer of streamlining graphic design that can be used commercially. His talent has been studied and used throughout the last 100 years by artists from all around the world. His placement of objects and text, the use of black and white, and his diagonal approach is what the viewer is drawn too. It makes our eyes travel from one end to the next. His ability to create an interesting image that is clear, concise and to the point. It’s simplicity in conveying the information Schmidt wants us to know is the beginning of successful advertising, that many will ‘copy’ in the future. His modern approach is his success, and his use of black, white, and reds give us a familiarity within all of his work. His style is prominent due to these choices. The Bauhaus movement was an important one, and I think we will always look back on this movement with our main focus being on the architects, but Joost Schmidt will be there too.

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  8. Schmidt’s work in the PowerPoint definitely demonstrates his use of the diagonal line. Some of his works like the Bauhaus poster with its dominance in red and tan, and the sideways, diagonal information I have definitely still see in today’s use. I think google docs has a flyer template almost identical for people to use. Even in his work with the circle being pierced by the triangle, there is a diagonal line adding energy and use of bold colors with black and white. Other works without any diagonal lines still had an energetic composition that allowed my eyes to travel along the information. Almost all of his work appears to still be in use today, except for the information and the yellowing background I would have that this was an everyday event poster of design templet. I find it incredible that he created such designs without the need for photoshop or computers but have become the basis for many graphic designs and I think it’s because of his use in shadowing, color, and line that it promotes a simplicity that will away appeal to the human race.

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  9. As a graphic designer, Schmidt’s work has had an incredible impact on my field. The strict and disciplined nature of his work shows a masterful use of gestalt and shape. Much of design is about problem-solving and stylized communication, and we Schmidt’s unique approach in the way he sets his type and aligns his shapes at an angle. Using the dynamic connotation of diagonal lines, Schmidt creates interest with the viewer and creates something visually striking. At the same time, the information being delivered is strong and legible, and the eye follows where he wants it to. Many of the design choices we see in Schmidt’s work influence many designers today, both technically and creatively. It’s timeless. It’s easy to make connections between common design trends and his portfolio.

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  10. In one of my previous Art History classes, we went into a deep dive in the Baushaus movement and it was incredible to see the unification between art and design. This movement helped shaped students to understand mass production and the use of crafts and new technology and the work is shown between the different building and artworks that were made during this time. Joost Schmidt’s artwork speaks for itself because even till now his art style is still relevant. Focusing on minimalism and simplicity, design was created in a way that was both functional and resourceful. His work often spoke to the viewer through the clever ways he aligned his shapes and the way he incorporated type into his designs. Not only does his work stand the test of time, his influence is very much seen within today’s art.

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  11. I love when artists make different processes of art combine and unite all together and therefore I personally respect the Bauhaus movement as I believe it was the approach to bring modern art to become knowledgeable. Ancient art was mostly drawn only in a fixed form and art style, but this approach made modern art more brilliant and dynamic; it is not limited to a particular rule as well as adding creativity. As a graphic design student, I know how hard it is to combine different art forms, methods, and styles all together with maintaining the art’s overall balance. It certainly needs a great eye, craftmanship, and also braveness to explore. Connecting my thoughts to Schmidt’s art, each of his art plays with different linear forms as well as shapes, perspective, and color, yet, still aesthetically appealing.

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  12. I think that Joost Schmidt’s work is very iconic and gorgeous. The pieces that he created are always very interesting compositionally. The aesthetic is something that I can definitely see in this day and age. With his use of typography and images, a lot of his works give me both the feelings of art and design. They move the viewer’s eyes around the piece, making them subconsciously examine what it is exactly they’re laying their eyes upon. I really like how a lot of Schmidt’s work includes both 3D and 2D imagery. The way the pieces are placed makes the image feel like there is more depth than there really is. It draws in the spectator and makes it so in a way they involuntarily read what is in-front of them.

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  13. While Schmidt’s work may be “minimal” in style compared to years prior, he plays with angles and perspective. A few years ago, I took a history of modern architecture course, which described the Bauhaus and minimalism movement not as being simple, but as doing away with excessive ornament. Its design was more purpose driven and the structure of the building or design was not something that needed to be covered up by ornamental elements. I think this is very important to remember when thinking about and discussing minimalism, as it is in fact not simple to create simplicity. When everything is exposed and bare, there is no room for error as you cannot cover it up with ornamental accessories. Everything must be exact, measured precisely, placed precisely, and designed precisely, and there is nothing “simple” about that.

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  14. Bauhaus’s efforts were admirable, considering the time they were living. Arts is always an escape from difficult times, but what the school aimed at was for unity. Joost Schmidt’s work is iconic, indeed. I have always been interested in these simple-looking posters and designs, because even when the loo minimalistic, the composition, the color choice, and the shapes used are no easy task to arrange. He shows us a skillful display of the elements and principle of design, and the part I like the most is how he made those 3D figures on a 2D surface look so realistic. Cool.

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  15. Joost Schmidt’s work in Bauhaus inspired many graphic design elements we have and use today. The use of line, balance, symmetry, movement, is all seen in his typography, and graphic designers use this style heavily today. Structure of letters, their geometry, their flexibility, and economy are all things he studied while creating these styles of work. Strong letters and expressive varieties of colors are seen in it as well. It is as if you can see the grid these letters are placed on, and many graphic designers take from that Bauhaus arsenal today.

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  16. I really enjoyed looking at the art work of the Bauhaus movement. It is really in the conceptual view of how modern Graphic designer work. The design are so simple but if I have know from my previous graphic design classes is that simple is hard especially when you are trying to make a statement. Bauhaus I feel is a type of style were we use the basic core values of design.

    Schmidt work resonates that very well in his pieces. His work is very beautiful and pleasing because he doesn’t overwhelm the viewer he keeps the simplicity in his design. Still the messages are bold but not cold like DADA

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  17. Joost Schmidt knew what was up. He had such a fresh and clear vision of what he was trying to communicate. I can feel and connect with that “tween” energy. Rebellious, warm, soft edges and organic shapes with diagonal lines. There is a certain movement/flow that Joost establishes in his works by using diagonal lines. I think that it is crazy his work is coming up on 100 years of age, as it is very modern looking, almost like something I would see in a magazine today– would almost describe as retro? It definitely shows the beginning of being able to generate a mood and dimension through graphic design and typography– much like a painting.

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  18. The fact that I myself am a graphic designer, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Bauhaus. To me – and maybe because of how and when it’s taught to us students – Bauhaus is really a huge turning point for graphic design. We begin to see it come into a more mainstream light right behind traditional mediums of art. This is also in my opinion the starting point of the conversation on whether design is considered art, or simply design as its own entity altogether. Additionally I feel as though this is one of the starting points for minimalism, more so as a style rather than the movement. Artists and designers such as Schmidt embody this through and through. What we see is an artist taking all the elements found within traditional art and using them as various tools to, in a way create something completely new. Furthermore about his work, one can tell that he had full understanding of most if not all of these “tools”, and showcased them very well. The work we receive from Schmidt grabs the viewers attention very easily. Once the viewer is drawn in, their eye is easily moves around the picture plane though Schmidt’s use of line, line weight, angle, and perspective. Lastly, it is always interesting to see the lasting effects that Bauhaus had on not only design, but traditional art mediums/styles as well.

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  19. Jonathan Quinones
    Bauhaus developed a passion for the relationship between art, society, and technology. His type of graphic design incorporated typography, photography, and industrial design. Bahus defines fine art as visual art that combines different art disciplines. Bahus encouraged artists to pursue their crafts together in design studios and workshops. I like how Bahus creates 3-dimensional objects on a 2-dimensional surface; he accomplished these techniques by applying a linear perspective and adding volume to shapes. Some of this art was featured in newspapers and magazines. I like using diagonal lines and the combination of black, whites, and red values that create strong compositions. The industrial revolution and world war 1 made it possible for artists to incorporate different media as part of photocollage—the use of visual arts reinforced marketing for propaganda and the news.

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  20. The work of Joost Schmidt is magnificently elegant in a way that can soothe almost anyone’s need for cohesion in life. Art is centered around emotions and in Joost Schmidt’s work there are more layers of emotion but they are hidden in the simplistic use of well thought out almost minimalist design. The way he uses the red and diagonal lines is intriguing because of the sense of power that those two elements create when used cohesively.

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  21. Joost’s work is amazing. You can see the influence of other types of art from the period in his pieces like cubism and constructivism. The high contrast color schemes create drama and intensity in his works. Mostly all of his work looks very modern. He had the knack of taking diverse styles and melding them into new design approaches. His work was also very minimalist, but that is not bad in any way. Every detail put in his pieces has a meaning or purpose. Joost Schmidt is a very gifted artist.

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  22. I believe that Joost’s work will last for all of time and influence people for as long as we all create. It has a way to pull your eye everywhere to get the whole story of the works every time. It all had a reason to be part of a piece, every shape and image and line had a purpose and use for the piece as a whole. It takes the right eye to create that sort of work and Joost had it.

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  23. I like it very much that the Bauhaus style allows changing perceptions by bringing a new breath to the most standard and mold designs. This trend, which is still influential today, was the answer to the need to make simple, practical, and unflattering mass production designs for the Industrial Age. Bauhaus; is a strong movement that left its mark on the world of design. Every designer should be able to apply his method freely. This uniqueness is evident in Joost Schmidt’s works. I studied Joost Schmidt’s works with admiration. I can say that he inspired me with his use of depth and space in his works. Clearly, he has been a source of inspiration for many artists now.

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  24. As a current graphic designer and someone who is always studying different forms of GD, Bauhaus has always been one of my most admired art movements. I know many individuals tend to hate on it and say it is too modern/simplistic, but I would say that is precisely why I enjoy it. I am a graphic designer that tends to incorporate a lot of typography in their work which was one of the main focuses of this genre. Simple color palettes, san-serif font designs, and minimal design elements have always been design characteristics that I have enjoyed! Schmidt and many of the other artists that taught at the Bauhaus or helped influence the movement are in my opinion some of the best. I especially like a lot of the architectures during this time that started to design with thin metal framework and glass. Overall I think this is one of the most influential movements in art history. I think even a known art history informed person would likely have heard of this movement at one point in their life. That is how much impact it has had!

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    1. Good for you going for graphic design. I could never do it as a career. With more simplistic compositions like in graphic design you have to be so precise to be able to create effective designs. You can’t hide parts of your work behind a happy little tree and call it a day. I commend you guys.

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  25. Schmidt utilized a strong contrast and diagonal composition to create some strong graphic design pieces. The lack of color makes the composition very utilitarian and industrial in feel. It’s a time capsule back to years between the world wars where the focus was on industrial and innovation. This style exemplifies that time period and is still relevant today with the Bauhaus ideal of mass production. We are getting back to more individual and unique products, but with so many families under the poverty line, I guarantee you a good amount of us all have the same few house goods that we found for cheap at Wal-Mart. Schmidt’s use of diagonals, especially with the text in his work, helps being the viewer in and keeps them looking at the work for longer because they have to know what the text says. While the work appears simple, the amount of attention to the design of the composition is anything but. I’m not a graphic designer, but I can appreciate a simple, strong, contrast-y composition. Bauhaus looks to simple, but it is filled with design elements that are fundamentally pleasing to the eye. Schmidt’s influence in the graphic design world is still strong almost 100 years later.

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  26. As I look upon the works of Joost Schmidt, I cannot help but be reminded of the timelessness of good design. In my academic study as a Graphic Design & Media major, I’ve come to understand that successful design works transcend time and never deteriorate in their efficiency to communicate a given message, and Schmidt’s works are a stellar example of such a phenomenon. Looking back onto his works and similar pieces born from the fruits of the Bauhaus movement, one cannot help but notice their dynamic nature, even by modern standards; while indeed flat and two-dimensional, they hardly seem to sit still, drawing the eye to a different point of focus the longer one looks at it. Even today, such a sensation is difficult to achieve, pointing to Schmidt’s mastery and the genius behind the fathers of the Bauhaus movement.

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  27. When i look at Joost Schmidt’s work, they reminded me of the time, when factory, war, propaganda, and machinery were the major themes. Schmidt’s work is clean, organized, and they resemble a similar quality that grabs the viewer’s attention. The bold colors, geometric shape, large fonts, remind me of propaganda poster, which information can be easily read, and the image won’t be busy so you will lost the message. In addition, this quality makes Schmidt’s work stand out. They are clean and pleasing. His way of arranging the shapes and colors still resonates with the lesson we learn in graphic design.

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  28. Arron Adams
    Art 473-1001
    For the most part, I am a fan of simplicity, but sometimes simplicity can be rather boring and it is difficult to make something that is both simple and interesting. I have seen Joost Schmidt’s art before – though I didn’t know the name of the artist – and what I appreciate about it is that he seems to have found a nice, satisfying balance between the two: simple without being boring, interesting without being overly complicated.

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  29. I appreciate a lot of Joost Schmidt’s work because in a lot of it, more specifically in the State Bauhaus Announcement, there is this almost perfect balance between the curves and the squares. He plays really well with the geometry and angles, making them synergize well and making the transitions not feel so jarring. A lot of his work is also at an angle, which almost feels like a trademark of his work. Nothing is ever completely horizontal, and I think that makes for much more interesting compositions. I’d love to see more in this style with different color palettes, since the primary colors paired with black and white were the most prominent usually.

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  30. The first thing that comes to mind when I take a look at Bauhaus is sharp. This sharpness usually comes from the geometric shapes that are placed on the piece or the typography. Also while keeping in mind that Bauhaus was founded by architects, the style of the movement definitely reflected on Schmidt’s pieces. The graphic elements that he includes simple, yet bold at the same time. As a graphic designer, this movement is taught in other classes as well and it is interesting how things were done before and how that art form has evolved over time, techinique-wise. Schmidt included alot of text in his pieces which is usually something that grabs my attention in any piece, so I really like that about his work.

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  31. Bauhaus has had a very strong influence in the design world today. Many of the modernist design elements that arose and were popularized by this movement are still in use today by many designers. Modern graphic design trends definitely lean more towards streamlined and commercial approaches to design, and we are definitely seeing the resurgence of clean, simple, geometric design within the industry. Designers like Joost Schmidt, who pioneered this style prioritized graphic ideas such as the importance of function within the design, something that is still being taught in graphic design classes today. As a designer myself, studying from people like Schmidt and Gropius is incredibly important to understanding not just the history of graphic design, but how our predecessors developed the fundamentals of graphic design today.

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  32. As a graphic design student, I am personally a fan of Bauhaus. To me, “Modernity” implies ease and knowledge. The saying “form follows function” has been hammered into my brain and I know that good design and good art should be easily integrated with humanity. I think Bauhaus’ value still hold true today. The work is eye catching, yet it feels natural to look at with ease and not fight with (or work against) the viewer.

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