Hidden Treasures: Reconstructing Lost Bauhaus Typefaces
Founded as a German art school in 1919, Staatliches Bauhaus—commonly known simply as Bauhaus—would remain in operation for only 14 years before closing under pressure from Germany’s Nazi regime. Nonetheless, the school’s ideology and founding principles lived on in the Bauhaus movement, which had a monumental impact on art across a spectrum of disciplines, from architecture to graphic design to typography. And now, in 2018, working at one of the original Bauhaus school buildings in Dessau, Germany, renowned typographer Erik Spiekermann and a team of design students have created digital typefaces based on type sketches and fragments that were hand-drawn at the school in the 1920s and 1930s—and these typefaces are coming to Adobe Typekit.
Adobe’s first “Hidden Treasures” re-creation brought to life digital versions of the brushes of Edvard Munch, for you to use in your own creations. For our second, we have worked with five design students, under the mentorship of Erik Spiekermann, to bring you four new Typekit typefaces, based on hand-drawn letterforms in the Bauhaus school archive. We’re making two of these meticulously reconstructed and digitized faces available to you now, with more to come in coming months.
One of Bauhaus’s fundamental principles was a marriage of form and function. It was a style marked by simplicity and accessibility—clean lines and geometric compositions. The school’s founder, Walter Gropius, conceived of a place where artists could be trained in his avant-garde concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, the idea that all the arts could be approached in a unified way. It was art for the masses, based on the utopian idea that everyday objects should and could be both beautiful and useful—and could also be mass-produced by modern machinery. Bauhaus’s cubic buildings, minimalist furniture, and bold advertising posters continue to inspire creatives in all fields of art, craft, and design.
We visited Spiekermann at the Bauhaus school building in Dessau, Germany, as he and the design students undertook this project. Watch our video to join him on this journey, and then visit Adobe Hidden Treasures to get the typefaces and start using them in your design projects.
MEET THE STUDENT DESIGNERS
June 11, 2019
Senior creative director: Dan Cowles, Adobe
Producer/director: Paul Lundahl, eMotion Studios
Director of photography: Dave Driver
Editor: Ellen Williams, eMotion Studios
Still photographs: Doug Beach, Adobe
Text and page layout: Charles Purdy, Adobe