The World Geo-Graphic Atlas, published by Walter Paepcke Essay

The World Geo-Graphic Atlas, published by Walter Paepcke Essay

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Until the 1950s, Atlases were mostly comprised of maps that simply show space and place. However in 1953, the World Geo-Graphic Atlas, published by Walter Paepcke’s Container Corporation of America (CCA) with Herbert Bayer, changed people’s notion of what maps look like and what information they contain. Bayer believed, that maps were “a record of time and perhaps even a tool of prognostication.” By the use of Isotypes (International System of Typographic Picture Education), Bayer created an atlas that is universal, therefore allowed viewers to understand complex data more clearly and easily.
Born in Haag, Austria, in 1900, Herbert Bayer grew up in the period of the fast changing environment and technologically revolutionary years. After serving in the Austrian Army, he started studying architecture under Professor Schmidthammer in Linz, but in 1921, he enrolled as a student at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where he studied mural painting with Wassily Kandinsky. Bayer was later appointed by Walter Gropius to head the first printing and advertising workshop in Dessau. “Under Bayer’s charge, the newly installed workshop developed into a professional studio for graphic design and commercial art. The study of the communicative potential of letterforms and typographic layout was part of a basic curriculum in the mechanics of visual education. Such innovations as the elimination of capital letters, and the replacement of the archaic Gothic alphabet used in German printing by a modern “cosmopolitan” font, and the concept of composition based on strong geometrical elements and expressive values of colors, testify to a move away from individually handcrafted and traditionally shaped goods towards objects meeting functional requirements suitabl...


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...dynamic design of Moholy-Nagy. The color keys include green for agriculture, blue for mining, red for manufacturing, and brown for exports and imports. Mineral symbols were based on chemical elements.
Drawing on Bauhaus methods, Bayer supported the concept of a total work of art and the unity – painting, typography, and information design were all connected to each other. In addition, every element in design was there for a purpose – to inspire, inform, or both. The atlas was “an example of how Americans had adapted Bauhaus design principles to communicate simply, directly and possible forcefulness. Atlases of world resources produced before Bayer’s publication hardly utilized a modernist graphic language. This would change with environmentally informed atlases of the 1970s that borrowed extensively from Bayer in their integration of color, graphic and symbols.”

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