5 ways to incorporate Bauhaus graphic design in your work

Adobe has released four free Bauhaus fonts – here's how to best use them in your next graphic design project.

After last year's digitising of age old brushes by Edvard Munch for Photoshop, Adobe returns with a new Hidden Treasures project, aiming to discover and revive the forgotten tools of old masters, and putting into the hands of a new generation of artists.

In advance of next year's centenary of the founding of Bauhaus, Adobe introduces The Lost Alphabets of Bauhaus, providing free and fully functional fonts from legendary design institute Bauhaus Dessau. Adobe partnered with the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and the world’s foremost authority of typography, Erik Spiekermann, to resurrect and digitise four, never seen before fonts made by original Bauhaus masters.

Download these four free Bauhaus fonts here from the Hidden Treasures site to use with your own graphic design projects.


Erik Spiekermann at work with his team

The Bauhaus movement revolutionised design with its key tenets of simplicity, functionality and rationality, an ethos that was applied to everything from architecture to teapots. The influence still reigns today, so you're probably incorporating Bauhaus elements in your work already – but if not, fret not, for the following tips will make sure your work stays elegant, functional and fantastic on the eye.

Simplicity

The fonts dusted off by Adobe are quintessentially Bauhaus, with their geometric designs and clean, clear construction.

Whether you're designing a poster or a webpage, it's always useful if anyone can read your lettering with minimum fuss – so try to avoid cursive fonts.

It's best to look into serif-less fonts; the Universal Type font developed by Herbert Bayer for example was held up as a prime example of type by original Bauhaus designers, praised for its "visual clarity stressed above all." Sans serif fonts have a universal character that make them easy to work with any image in your piece, especially alongside photography.

Function

Say you're designing product packaging, you might be tempted to look for a shape as unique as the colourful logos and characters that'll stand out from the label. Halt in your tracks though, for form should always follow function, as the Bauhaus School would always stress.

Try to remember your object's function and enhance it without the need for decorative elements. This could apply to the message of any branding you're working on too. Is the use of the product you're branding clear to see, or have you buried it beneath too many bells and whistles?

The Grid System

This may sound like an obvious one, but having a grid organises your images, text etc in a rational, easy-to-absorb manner.

This also applies to web design. You should always keep your columns, borders, heights and gutters consistent. Make sure any logos and visual elements cover a decent amount of columns, or they'll be bunched up too tight in the corner. Remember, the grid system is a great example of form following function – stick to the lines, and your designs will fly with grace.

Visual Hierarchy

Bauhaus was big on rationality, and what you do with your visual elements should follow a strong sense of logic.

The larger something is, the more attention it will attract, so make sure you're highlighting a brand name instead of the small print.

If you want to draw someone's eye to an element, 'tear' it away from the alignment everything else falls upon according to your grid.

When showing elements are connected, you can place them side by side, or repeat a size and style of font to show a sense of cohesion between two items of text that aren't necessarily aligned or adjacent.

Colour

Finally, know your colours inside out. Learn the natural associations of certain shades e.g. green and nature and beware of colour clashing when you should be contrasting.

A contrast of colours will catch the eye easily, while brighter tones will win out over muted ones. Also, don't be afraid of a little white – leaving space around elements naturally makes them stand out. With rediscovered Bauhaus fonts like the thick-lined Joschmi (below), note how the white space that cleaves each letter allows it the same readability of thinner-lined fonts.

Design a Brand Identity on Behance for Adobe Hidden Treasures

You can download Joschmi and the other three fonts rediscovered by Adobe at the Hidden Treasures page, where you can take part in a series of design challenges devoted to Bauhaus. The latest challenge is to create a Bauhaus-inspired brand identity on Behance, giving you a nice chance to put into practice the tips we've featured. This could be a logo, poster, business card or web design – it’s up to you!

Those who opt to participate in all of the challenges can create a Behance project featuring all of their entries for a chance to win a grand prize of an all-expenses paid trip to explore the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in person, as well as an Adobe Creative Cloud license and MacBook Pro. The best submissions meanwhile will be featured in an exclusive exhibition at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. To download the fonts, you'll need an Adobe ID, which is available to everyone for free. Nice and simple, in the true Bauhaus way.

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