Modern Corporate Logos Reimagined in a Classic Bauhaus Style: Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus Movement Today

Image by Vladimir Nikolic

Amer­i­can chil­dren, a study found a few years ago, rec­og­nize over 1,000 cor­po­rate logos but almost no plants. To some it was a damn­ing indict­ment of the mod­ern world; to oth­ers it was noth­ing more than a descrip­tion of the mod­ern world (in the 21st cen­tu­ry, after all, which skill is more help in find­ing food?); and to a few it was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­claim that, for the sake of the chil­dren, the mod­ern world could use some bet­ter cor­po­rate logos.

Image by dell­fi

The artists, archi­tects, and design­ers of the Bauhaus, the mod­ernist art-school-turned-move­ment with its ori­gins in Weimar Ger­many, might well have agreed. Right from the Bauhaus’ foun­da­tion in 1919, its mem­bers worked on shap­ing the aes­thet­ics of the future.

Now, for the school’s 100th anniver­sary (today!), 99designs has com­mis­sioned revi­sions of cur­rent cor­po­rate logos in the Bauhaus style. “It out­last­ed a century’s worth of com­pet­ing styles,” writes 99designs’ Matt Ellis, “sur­vived the ini­tial crit­i­cisms from tra­di­tion­al­ists, and although the Nazis shut down the insti­tu­tion in 1933, the Bauhaus move­ment itself lives on to this day.”

Image by Ars­De­signs

Ellis goes on to quote the still-inspir­ing words of Bauhaus founder Wal­ter Gropius: “The artist is a height­ened man­i­fes­ta­tion of the crafts­man. Let us form… a new guild of crafts­men with­out the class divi­sions that set out to raise an arro­gant bar­ri­er between crafts­men and artists! Let us togeth­er cre­ate the new build­ing of the future which will be all in one: archi­tec­ture and sculp­ture and paint­ing.” This project put up the five pil­lars of the Bauhaus style: “form fol­lows func­tion,” “min­i­mal­ism,” “rev­o­lu­tion­ary typog­ra­phy,” “pas­sion for geom­e­try,” and “pri­ma­ry col­ors.”

Image by dnk

The reimag­ined cor­po­rate logos made for the cen­te­nary of the Bauhaus stand on all those pil­lars, turn­ing the emblems of prod­ucts and ser­vices that many of us con­sume and use every day — or per­haps, as we scroll through Insta­gram on our iPhones or Android devices at Star­bucks in our Adi­das­es, all at the same time — into designs that merge the cut­ting-edge aes­thet­ics of inter­war Europe with those of the thor­ough­ly glob­al­ized 2010s.

Image by Pono­marevD­mit­ry

Whether a pure Bauhaus revival will result in the actu­al adop­tion of logos like these remains to be seen, but in a way, the exer­cise sim­ply dou­bles down on an influ­ence that already runs deep. As Art­sy’s Kelsey Ables puts it, “It is a tes­ta­ment to the long­stand­ing influ­ence of Bauhau­sian min­i­mal­ist ideals that the select­ed logos were already stream­lined to begin with; many of the design­ers who reimag­ined ‘Bauhaus style’ logos had to add visu­al ele­ments. Per­haps Google and its brethren are more Bauhaus than the Bauhaus itself.”

Image by Ars­De­signs

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Bauhaus World, a Free Doc­u­men­tary That Cel­e­brates the 100th Anniver­sary of Germany’s Leg­endary Art, Archi­tec­ture & Design School

Down­load Orig­i­nal Bauhaus Books & Jour­nals for Free: A Dig­i­tal Cel­e­bra­tion of the Found­ing of the Bauhaus School 100 Years Ago

How the Rad­i­cal Build­ings of the Bauhaus Rev­o­lu­tion­ized Archi­tec­ture: A Short Intro­duc­tion

An Oral His­to­ry of the Bauhaus: Hear Rare Inter­views (in Eng­lish) with Wal­ter Gropius, Lud­wig Mies van der Rohe & More

32,000+ Bauhaus Art Objects Made Avail­able Online by Har­vard Muse­um Web­site

The Female Pio­neers of the Bauhaus Art Move­ment: Dis­cov­er Gertrud Arndt, Mar­i­anne Brandt, Anni Albers & Oth­er For­got­ten Inno­va­tors

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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