The Bauhaus was a German art school which existed from 1919 through 1933. No other institution has had the profound influence on 20th century design as the Bauhaus. It was founded by architect Walter Gropius in the city of Weimar. Founded on the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, the aim of the Bauhaus was to incorporate art and industry. In 1925, the Bauhaus moved to Dessau. It was during this year that the young Austrian artist, Herbert Bayer, was appointed to head the printing and advertising workshops in Dessau.
Herbert Bayer was born on April 5, 1900 in a village near Salzburg in Northern Austria. At age 19, the young Bayer became an apprentice of Linz artist Georg Schmidthammer. While studying in Schmidthammer's workshop Bayer designed letterheads, posters and advertisements. The next year, Bayer left the workshop in Linz and went to the German city of Darmstadt where he worked in the workshop of Viennese architect Emmanuel Margold at the Darmstadt Artists Colony. While there, Bayer was trained in the Art Nouveau styles and began to gain an interest in Gropius' book Bauhaus-Manifest. He left Darmstadt in 1921 and was interviewed by Gropius in Weimar. Bayer was accepted to the Bauhaus and during the next four years Bayer studied under the guidance of the school's great professors. After passing his final examination, the journeyman's exam, Bayer was appointed by Gropius to direct the new "Druck und Reklame" (printing and advertising) workshop to open when the Bauhaus moved to the city of Dessau in April, 1925.
1925 was possibly Bayer's busiest year. In October, he instituted the lowercase alphabet as the style for all Bauhaus printing. To accompany this, Bayer founded "universal", a geometric sans-serif font. This year Bayer also designed signage for the Bauhaus' new building complex in Dessau, the Bauhaus workshops descriptive product catalogue. It is during this year that Bayer, while on a vacation in Paris, gained an appreciation for the art of photography and began to experiment with his camera.
In 1928, Bayer left the Bauhaus and became the art director of Vogue magazine in Berlin. Until 1938, when he moved to New York City, Bayer worked on the German publication "Die neue Linie." When Bayer became settled in America he worked in association with his friend Walter Gropius to design the exposition "Bauhaus 1918-28" at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.
When he died at the age of 85 in 1985, Herbert Bayer left behind him an outstanding career which affected nearly every field of the arts, from painting to photography and typography to teaching.