Drucker’s article, “Experimental Typography as a Modern Art Practice,” looked at the development of  typography alongside advertising and other forms of mass distribution of pictures and art in the early twentieth century. For the most part, this response was due to changing attitudes in the nineteenth century regarding how to view mass reproducible media as well as ideas in the graphics design community.

Three Most Important Aspects

1. The history of typography is used by Drucker to introduce the rest of her argument for the spread of typography in the twentieth century as an art form. As she states on page 92, “… the development of poster design for artistic and commercial purposes in the late nineteenth century created a graphic presence in the urban environment which contributed to the cross- disciplinary sensibility in which the avant-garde attitude toward the materiality of visual forms of written language developed,” displaying the importance and evolution of print typography culture that lead to the “avant-garde” attitude towards advertising and other typography in the late nineteenth century.

2. The differences between marked and unmarked typography also plays a substantial role in Drucker’s article. Defining the two terms on page 94 as “correspond[ing] to the split between commercial and literary uses of typography,” Drucker describes multiple examples including the Bible and other forms of advertisements to continue to explain the differences between the two. Throughout the rest of the article, Drucker utilizes this difference to help explain various trends towards attitudes of typographical culture, including the “so-called little magazine” on page 103 and how it developed as a result of unmarked typographical styles.

3. Dada and Futurist culture was also discussed throughout Drucker’s passage. She claims that, in continuing reference to marked and unmarked typography, Dada and Futurist artists contributed greatly to the development of vocabulary within early twentieth century typography.  These artists, “whose typography and design distinctly attempted a ‘modern’ look” as Drucker explained on page 98, pushed the realm of advertising and other literary texts in the early twentieth century due to their willingness to experiment and begin a new style of forced colors and bizarre and complex illustrations and designs. Dada and Futurist artists truly sculpted the landscape of typography leading into the twentieth and twenty-first century, as seen by many of the advertisements we can see in society today.

Two Aspects I Don’t Understand

1. I was not entirely aware of when the Dada and Futurist cultures came into existence and began to heavily influence twentieth-century typography. While Drucker does provide a few dates, including the range of 1917-1923 on page 104 when describing Dada, Cubist, and Nunist artists, I was hoping she would provide a solid starting point from which their culture really bored down and influenced our own.

2. I didn’t entirely understand the relevance of needing to explain the difference between book design and advertising, as Drucker described on pages 98-99. While I do understand that the styles for both were changing throughout the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth in response to changing typographical styles, the two seem so different that a comparison doesn’t seem necessary.

One Question for the Class

What are some examples of Dada and Futurist inspired art and typography in today’s world, similar to the situations described by Drucker?