Lazar El Lissitzky (1890-1941)

Lazar El Lissitzky was born November 23, 1890 and died December 30, 1941.

Lissitzky was Russian Painter, typographer, and designer. His innovations in typography, advertising and exhibition design were particularly influential.

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-Lissitzky said that his designs or “stages” as he called them, should be a kind of “…showcase or stage on which the pictures make their appearance as actors in a drama or comedy, it should not imitate a living space.”

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Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876 -1944)

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Born: 22 December, 1876
Died: 2 December, 1944

Although he was more known as a writer and a theorist, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was a revolutionary Italian typographer in that he pushed beyond the boundaries of ordinary typography and experimented with expressive type. He is an important component to the Futurist beginnings of typography. As a writer/poet, he wanted to express his words through design in ways that would reflect the changes around society during his time. The concept of Futurism comes from ideas about the future, of speed, technology, violence… revolutionary changes that were occurring during Marinetti’s time.

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Kurt Schwitters 1887-1948

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Kurt Schwitters lived a full life from 1887-1948. He was a painter, sculptor, designer and writer. He originated from Germany, and moved to England in 1940. Immediately after his arrival he started to intern in a camp on the Isle of Man continuing his work. In October 1941 he moved to London, a few years later he moved to Little Langdale, near Ambleside in the Lake District where he lived the rest of his life, often painting portraits for clients. Continue reading

Lucian Bernhard (1883-1972)

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Lucian Bernhard was a largely self-taught type designer, poster designer, and art director for a magazine in Berlin, Germany. He then moved on to being a professor in 1923 at Akademie der Kuste. In 1928 he then moved to the States, went to New York City opened the Contempora Studio as a graphic designer, and interior designer. He was primarily a painter and sculptor for the last 40 years of his life.

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Ben Shahn (1898 – 1969)

If you only relied on the results of a quick Google search for Ben Shahn, you’d find him called a painter, a printmaker, a photographer. He dealt mostly with images. You’d wonder why I’d list him as a resource in a Typography class.


Shahn was known mostly as a social-realist painter. That means he intended to inspire social change, and he did it by painting in a realistic manner. Continue reading