Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Dada was an art movement that originated in Switzerland as protest to events happening during the First World War most prominent between 1916-1923. Dada was anti-art about chance, tearing away traditions and questioning the idea of what art is with concepts such as the ‘ready mades’ created by Marcel Duchamp where anything can be art. The unconventional nature of Dada impacted highly on graphic design. The layouts used in magazines, posters, advertisements and flyers were shocking at the time.

Typography was an important element in Dada. Dada typographic design was unorthodox with random placements of letters and phrases, mixing fonts, decorative punctuation and type running in all directions horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. Dada also used the idea like the Cubists of letterforms being visual shapes, not just phonetic symbols. Dada “rejected the dignified purity of the classic page, with fragments of letters and punctuation strewn about like debris after a bombing. Typography has never been quite the same scene." Shown below- Tristan Tzara- Poster for Salon Dada, Exposition Internationale, Galerie Montaigne, 1921

Collage was another Dada technique not introduced directly by the Dadaists but it was the Dadaists who new developed techniques. Using found objects it reflected modern life at the time. Dada took collage a step further creating photomontage a technique of manipulating images juxtaposing and making associations between the images. Dadaists took a technique and pushed its limits far beyond their original intentions, unconventional. Below example of Dada collage technique- Raoul Hausmann- Der Dada 3, ed. (Berlin, April 1920), cover.

1 comment:

cathy_campbell said...

really interesting blurb on DaDa..well described...yr comments about layout, typography and unconventional approach are great food for thought as we search for inspiration in our graphic design course.