The Eiffel tower and its influence on graphic design
The Eiffel Tower was designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exposition of 1889 and dominated the Parisian skyline at the time it was built. Constructed of iron and standing 984 feet tall, the tower quickly became a favorite subject of graphic art, artists and photographers.
The tower’s distinctive silhouette is recognized world wide as an icon of French culture.
During the late 1800s electricity as a technological advancement was popularised in America and France. At the time French graphic artists used the Eiffel tower as a focus in order to popularise electricity and its uses.
The Eiffel tower influence reached typography and poetry in a poem called Eiffel Tower and Il Pleut, Poems of War and Peace by Avant-garde poet Guillaume Apollinaire. He designed Il Pleut in barely legible cascades of letters to evoke the feeling of rain. He referred to his shaped poems as Calligrammes.
At the time Apollinaire was pessimistic about the future of typography, he was convinced that with the invention of the film and photographs that “typography is reaching a brilliant end to its career”.
The following are some examples of how big of an influence the Eiffel tower had on artists of many disciplines. It has been featured in typography, posters, paintings and used as a symbol to popularize electricity at the turn of the 19th century.