by Nicholas Fabian
Paul Renner was born 1878 in Germany. He was a graphic designer, typographer, type designer, painter, and teacher. From 1908 to 1917 he designed books for a living for the Münich publishing trade. While he was never directly affiliated with the Bauhaus movement, in the early 1920s he became an advocate of its aims and principles and became a leading proponent of the "New Typography".
In 1926 Paul Renner became the principal of the Printing Trade School in Münich, and he was also the co-founder and Director of the Master School for Germany’s Printers. (Meisterschule Für Deutchlands Buchdrucker). Renner published a booklet titled 'Kulturbolschewismus' in 1932, in which he criticized the Nazi's cultural policy. In 1933 with the consolidation of Hitler's powers in Germany, the Nazis dismissed him from the school as an intellectual subversive, a ‘Cultural Bolshevist’. Renner arranged for his friend and member of his staff, George Trump, to take over the directorial position to avoid an unpredictable external appointment by the Nazis. Another noted member of his staff at the school was Jan Tschichold.
The same year, the Nazis also shut down the entire Bauhaus design institution in Berlin, thus creating a wave of immigration to the United States. One of the founders of the Bauhaus movement, the Hungarian painter and designer László Moholy-Nagy was one of the immigrants, who shortly after his arrival founded the Chicago Institute of Design based on the principles of the Bauhaus.
Futura is a sans serif face designed by Paul Renner between 1924 and 1926. It is based on geometric shapes which became representative visual elements of the Bauhaus design style of 1919-1933. Futura was commercially released in 1927-1930 and it became a cornerstone of the 'New Typography' classified as Geometrical Modernism. Form follows function became the key words and careful reasoning constrained all the character shapes to their...