Faces of Design | A. Brodovitch

I’m studying journalism and communications. My core classes focus on hunting down nitty-gritty details. My peers aspire to win the Pulitzer. My instructors are priming me to become a multimedia reporter who can interview, record, tweet, edit and publish in a matter of moments. And there is something about writing that is still undeniably appealing to me, but I just can’t imagine my life as a journalist.

In fact, I love design. I like the smell of paper, and I am admittedly a pen and typeface snob. I love the way color, shapes, textures and patterns dance together on a page or an outfit or a room to portray a message, a feeling. I appreciate all things handmade, and I can’t get through a single trip to Publix without gawking at killer packaging.

But without a bachelor of arts in graphic design and despite a focus on design in my journalism program, I can’t help but feel a little bit intimidated by the idea of working in the design field and competing with individuals who did throw thousands of dollars and student loans at art school. I don’t want to be one of the designers who my peers hate because I didn’t “pay my dues.”

So I’ve been convicted to start teaching myself about some well-known designers and design staples in order to strengthen my knowledge on the field and to avoid looking silly when Brodovitch or Eames references sail right over my head. I’ve always loved Design*Sponge’s focus on design history and knowledge. Their recent Design Icon posts have inspired the concept behind Faces of Design.

Faces of Design - A. Brodovitch | Emily Ann Moschner

I’m kicking it off with Alexey Brodovitch, a Russian graphic designer & photographer whose designs are still admired today for their simplicity and modern bent. He even coined Harper Bazaar’s Didot logo and his preferred typeface was Bodoni. A man after my own heart.

Faces of Design - A. Brodovitch | Emily Ann Moschner

Row 1 | The Ultra Violets in Harper’s Bazaar, August 1958 – Photographed by Richard Avedon; Harper’s Bazaar, July 1948 – Photographed by Richard Avedon; Row 2 | Tips in Your Fingers in Harper’s Bazaar, April 1941 – Photographed by Herbert Matter; Alexey Brodovitch portrait

Although some of his colleagues considered it a waste of space, in my opinion Brodovitch knew how to utilize white space creating crisp and purposeful layouts. Not to mention, his designs are timeless and could easily fit in the pages of a modern fashion magazine today. And can we just remember for a moment that his work was done by hand? Brodovitch passed away in 1971 and was at his prime through the 30s, 40s and 50s. Photoshop didn’t show up until 1990 (Creative Bloq), so the man was a scissor genius producing perfect bleeds and seamless spreads.

He loved surprise and often prompted photographers and fellow creatives to shock him with his catchphrase, “Astonish me.” Clearly he followed what he preached. I’m astonished.

What do you think? Which face of design are you itching to learn more about next?

Information Sources | ICONOFGRAPHICS; Harper’s Bazaar

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