Herbert Bayer studied at the Bauhaus from 1921, first on the Foundation Course in Art and Design under Johannes Itten and then painting under Wassily Kandinsky and László Moholy-Nagy. During this time he was developing his own typefaces. In 1925, on completion of his final exams, Bayer was appointed by Walter Gropius to direct the new “Druck und Reklame” (Printing and Advertising) department at the Bauhaus in Dessau.
Bayer developed the “Universal”, a geometric sans-serif typeface in 1925, designed the iconic signage for the Bauhaus’ new building complex in Dessau, and the graphic design for Bauhaus product catalogues and posters.
In 1928, Bayer left the Bauhaus to become art director of Vogue magazine’s Berlin office. He remained in Germany far later than most other progressives. In 1936 he designed a brochure for the Deutschland Ausstellung, an exhibition for tourists in Berlin during the 1936 Olympic Games – the brochure celebrated life in the Third Reich, and the authority of Hitler. However, in 1937, works of Bayer’s were included in the Nazi propaganda exhibition “Degenerate Art”, upon which he left Germany.
In 1938 Bayer settled in New York City where he had a long and distinguished career in nearly every aspect of the graphic arts.
Bayer’s output is synonomous with the graphic look of the Bauhaus and his influence permeates graphic design even today.