Friday, November 4, 2011

Mad Men and Crazy Critters – Fun & Function

Die Lustige Woche, 1906

Julius Klinger (1876–1942) is one of my favorite poster artists ever!
This innovative Austrian illustrator, graphic designer, typographer 
and teacher was also a pioneer in the fields of branding and advertising. 
After studying at the Technologisches Gewerbemuseum in Wien, 
Klinger found his first employent at Wiener Mode magazine. 
There he met Koloman Moser, who encouraged him to move 
to Munich where he found work as an illustrator for the satirical 
journal Meggendorfer Blätter and for Jugend magazine.

Lustige Blätter, 1907

In 1897 he relocated to Berlin, where he worked extensively as a commercial artist
and contributed to humorous magazines such as Das kleine Witzblatt
Lustige Blätter, Die Lustige Woche and Das Narrenschiff

Hermanns and Froitzheim, 1910, thanks to Stefan Lukut

Bonaqua, 1910

Zoologischer Garten, 1910

Hollerbaum und Schmidt, 1910

Together with the printing house Hollerbaum und Schmidt, he developed 
a new functional style of poster that soon gained him international reputation.
Klinger's timeless designs display a very minimalist, modern and refined aesthetic 
enriched by fantasy, a strong sense of humor and the love of animals. 

Flugplatz Wanne Herten, 1912

Karikaturisten Ball, 1913

8 Kriegsanleihe (8th War Loan) propaganda poster, 1918
Palm Cigarren, 1918

Klinger promoted economy of design and a clear separation between poster art
and painting. After the end of WWI, he established a school for commercial art
in Vienna and devised some very large and comprehensive advertising campaigns 
for companies such as Tabu cigarette paper and MEM toiletries and razor blades.
These are the strongest expressions of his graphic functionalism, which relied 
on the company logo, simple geometric shapes and bold, flat colors 
to achieve maximum impact and brand recognition.

Wipag Klinger, 1923

Sadly, this story has a tragic ending. Because of his Jewish descent, 
Klinger fell victim to nazi persecution. In 1942 he was deported to Minsk, 
where he was presumably killed during the same year. For some time
his name almost fell into oblivion, but he was recently rediscovered
by many who appreciate his stylized and ultra modern approach,
and his work has been featured in numerous design blogs
including my beloved Words and Eggs and The Blue Lantern.



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