Do You Know Max Hertwig?

Even if you’ve heard of the German poster, type, lettering, logo and book cover designer Max Hertwig (1881-1975), I doubt you’ve  heard or read much about his vast and unique career.

As a student of early 20th century German design, I knew the name, collected bits of his work, but he was one of the many greatly skilled designers who fell in the shadow of Lucian Bernhard. Seemingly to rectify the paucity of biographical information and alter the historical perception of Hertwig as a mere follower, C. Arthur Croyle, Associate Professor of design at Iowa State University, has spent years researching and uncovering a significant amount of work and biography. The result is Hertwig: The Zelig of Design, referring to his associations with the German Werkbund and the Bauhaus, as well as with Peter Behrens, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius.

Hertwig may not interest everyone, but he should. He is one of the building blocks of modern graphic design history. He left enough of a legacy to both appreciate for its craft and savor for its art.

Just look for yourself (above and below) and order the book here.

4 thoughts on “Do You Know Max Hertwig?

  1. Andrea Quam

    Just when you think graphic design history has been thoroughly mined another gem is uncovered. This book thoroughly introduces another one. Thank you for bringing it to our attention!

  2. Cyndi Wiley

    Yes! I have heard of Max Hertwig and was extremely excited to read further in your blog and discover that you have found Professor Croyle’s book. I was in his class last fall at Iowa State University (ISU) and we covered much German poster design, in addition to many other topics, of course.
    We are doing really exciting things at ISU in addition to learning history and theory, we are working collaboratively with many other departments on campus and performing design research to accompany our studio projects. Many of the resources that I am personally researching include titles that you have either written or edited. Thank you for your hard work over the years!
    Graduate Research Assistant + Instructor ArtGR 275/276in pursuit of a MFA in Graphic Design and a PhD in Human Computer InteractionIowa State University