Adjectives don’t often pop into my head when I view a design, but when I viewed Jan Tschichold’s poster done for Laster Der Menscheit, the word unconventional popped up. First, I thought of this as a bad thing but then I realized that it’s just the opposite. It’s good to be unconventional; it means you’re different than most, that you’re thinking red when everyone else is thinking blue. The word seemed even more appropriate when I discovered that this poster was created for a movie because I have never seen a movie poster take an approach quite like this one.
The shapes and lines that make up this design give the illusion that it is three dimensional. It actually looks like a film being projected onto a screen due to the positioning of the shapes and how they interact with one another. Negative space plays an important role in this design because it makes the concept work. Tschichold placed all information in the shape that represents the light path from the projector, because it reality, that’s where the light would be. If he were to place the title and such in the negative space, the concept wouldn’t be as apparent or successful. Using line in the design also makes it successful. In the past I have had ideas like this but when I try to execute them I end up with a shape similar to the triangular shape, and the image. Including the lines that allow for this positioning to be possible never occurred to me.
Adding imagery to a Swiss design is a really nice way to break up the space and create interest. I feel that this design wouldn’t be half as successful if not for the image of the woman at the top. The inclusion of the image also contributes to the three dimensional aspect of the work. Her eyes are either closed or pretty close but they’re facing down which creates a path of interest from her to the text near the center, it looks like she’s looking at it herself. Her glance also plays an important role in interaction between the top and bottom of the composition which would be completely separate entities without her glance. Although this design is in black and white, the image includes many different shades of gray which again, creates interest in the design.
I would still use “unconventional” to describe this design even after discovering the film projector concept, which I have seen being done. “Unconventional” still describes the piece because of the way that Tschichold did it. Including the lines is similar, almost exactly like, leaving your grid in as part of your design. Most people never even consider showing the backbone of their work, or what made it so successful, so the fact that Tschichold did it is really neat.