WOLFGANG his iconic work in both graphic design




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Wolfgang Weingart is famously recognised in the design world for his
iconic work in both graphic design and typography. The work he created was
classified as Swiss Typography, as he once said; “I took Swiss Typography as my starting point, but then
I blew it apart, never forcing any style on my students.”. Throughout this
essay, I am going to explore the life of Wolfgang Weingart and aim to discover
how he became known as “the father” of the New Wave typography.




“It was the most important years of my life”


Born in February 1941, Weingart spent the first 13 years of his life
living in Salem Valley located in southern Germany close to the border of


In his early years, Weingart and his family traveled frequently allowing
him to see beautiful landscapes and ancient ruins first hand which later
influenced many aspects of his work.




It was then in 1947 when Weingart began his
journey in school, where he discovered that he had very little interest is
academic subjects. In an interview, earlier this year he admitted “Cramming
knowledge into my head didn’t appeal to me.”. So, throughout his years of school,
he found ways of cheating, as he did so by drilling holes into the surface of
his desk which allowed him to read answers from below.


Near the end of World War II Weingart discovered a valuable lesson about
himself in which discovered that he was a doer, not a thinker. One of the
things he loved to do was take apart the girl’s bike he owned. Weingart would
play and reconstruct different parts of the bike and put it back together


In 1954 Weingart and his family packed their things and moved to Lisbon,
Portugal where they lived for a total of 2 years. Over these years Weingart experienced
education at a German school in which teacher acknowledged his artistic ability
and agreed to give him private lessons. His parents took him on trips to Spain,
Africa, and the Middle East. This allowed him to see beautiful landscapes and
ancient ruins first hand which later influenced much of his work in later life.


When he returned back to Germany his parents enrolled him for the Merz
Academy in Stuttgart where he started a 2-year programme in applied art and
design. During the course of the programme, he not only learned about painting
and drawing but also printing and graphic design. It was here that he began
experiments with type and during free time he was keen to set himself personal
projects which lead him to use metal type for the first time.




Weingart had a goal of learning in an industry that was relevant to
graphic design, in which he began a typesetting apprenticeship at Ruwe Printing,
Stuttgart in 1960. He was unaware that the line of work he was undertaking
would have a major influence on his future as a designer. In the process of his
time here Weingart would spend his weekends playing around and experimenting
with type which led him to discover that there was a real creative potential behind
type and letter forms. From this he gained a real admiration for the art of
metal typesetting and printing, having mentioned in his book “My Way to
Typography”; “The thoroughness of training during my apprenticeship,
technically and aesthetically, the respect and awe I developed for every letter
and for every typeset line was confirmation that my calling had been


This was also the year he first encountered Swiss Typography which
inspired him remarkably throughout his years of being an apprentice. The
International Typographic Style is commonly referred as ‘Swiss Style’. This movement
was based on cleanness, readability, objectivity, and structure; the beginning of
mathematical grids delivered consistent and easy to follow designs. Other
features of the Swiss Style included the typeface Sans Serif and photography
which is visible in Weingart’s work. It was artists like Josef-Muller
Brockmann, Ernst Keller and Armin Hofmann who innovated the Swiss Style by combing
elements from movements like Bauhaus and De Stijl to achieve the clean and
simplistic Swiss Style, which still inspires many designers today.





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