Light + Photo + Type = The Look

Gyorgy Kepes popularized the look in the U.S. when he began playing with light as graphic tool. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Herbert Matter were also proponents of the method called lichtbildaufnahmen (light picture recordings). Designing with light as abstract and representational through photography is endemic to a look found more in Europe than the United States in the early to mid-1950s. It is a date-marker of Mid-Century Modernism that gets forgotten in the annals of graphic design history. Here are some examples of book jackets and catalog covers from a portfolio titled “Photo typographie,” in the February 1955 issue of the German typographer’s journal Form und Technik. Back then graphic style was so clean and economical — a treat for image saturated, weary eyes.

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