Wolfgang Weingart

“electronic equipment replaces neither eyes,hands,nor heart”

Wolfgang Weingart.

Wolfgang Weingart is regarded as the “enfant terrible” of modern Swiss typography. At an early stage he broke with the established rules: He freed letters from the shackles of the design grid, spaced, underlined or reshaped them and reorganized type-setting. Later he mounted halftone films to form collages, anticipating the digital sampling of the post-modern “New Wave”. As a typography teacher at the Basel School of Design Weingart shaped several generations of designers from 1968 onwards. They came from throughout the world and helped him achieve international recognition.

Weingart’s experimental design approach and the connection between analog and digital techniques that he called for are topical again today. Although strong evidence of Swiss orderliness could be seen creeping into the simple letterheads and business cards that Weingart designed during his time , his work possessed a spontaneity and deliberate carelessness that transcended the precepts of Swiss design of that period. Even at this early stage in his professional development, Weingart’s innate understanding of the limitations of perpendicular composition in lead typesetting, coupled with the strict technical and aesthetic discipline of his apprenticeship and his inherently rebellious nature, drove him inexorably to pursue a more experimental approach. A dropped case of six-point type served as the basis for his round compositions. He scooped the type up from the floor and tied it up to form a disc. By printing both the faces and the bottoms of the bodies of the metal type sorts, he achieved the illusion of depth. The discs became spheres.

Weingart insistently sought new ways of creating images, adopting the halftone screens and benday films used in photomechanical processes as his new tools beginning in the mid-1970s. He used the repro camera to stretch, blur and cut type—a radical new approach for marrying continuous-tone images and letters. He would boast that his design process relied solely on these film manipulations and overlapping colors, seen perhaps most strikingly in his work for the Basel Kunstkredit—black-and-white world-format posters designed between 1976 and 1979 and a series of color posters made between 1980 and 1983.









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