Monthly Archives: September 2012


Anon., 2009. Queens of the Sea: The Golden Age of Ocean Liners. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 September 2012].

Arhcer, B., 2007. Eric Gill got it wrong; a re-evaluation of Gill Sans. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Atzmon, L., 2009. Visual rhetoric. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Badaracco, C., 1996. Rational Language and Print Design in Communication Management. Design Issues, 12(1), pp.26-37.

BBC, n.d. The BBC logo story. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Behrens, R., 1999. Paul Renner: The Art of Typography. Print, pp.30,191.

Bitstream Inc., 1999-2012. William Morris – MyFonts. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Boulton, M., 2005. Typeface of the Month: Gill Sans. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Breternitz, R., 2011. Decriminalizing Ornament. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Brett, D., 1992. On Decoration. Lutterworth Press.

Brett, D., 2005. Rethinking Decoration. Cambridge University Press.

Brown, D., 2001. 1945-51: Labour and the creation of the welfare state. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 04 September 2012].

Burns, T., 1977. The BBC: Public Instituation and Private World. London: The Macmillan Press LTD.

BYTTEBIER, L., 2007. A History Of Why People Travel. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 September 2012].

Carey, J., 1992. The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice among the Literary Intelligentsia 1880-1939. London: Faber and Faber LTD.

Carlton, 2010. Google. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 9 July 2012].

Catherine Dixon, P.B.J.T.G.U.A.W.H.G., 2005. Sense of place. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 11 September 2012].

Clay, R., 2009. Beautiful Thing: An Introduction to Design. Oxford: Berg.

Coulson, A.J., 1979. A bibliography od design in Britian 1851 – 1970. London: Design Council Publications.

Crane, W., 1898. Bases of Design. George Bell.

Crane, W., 1900. Line & Form. London: George Bell & Sons.

Dempsey, A., 2002. The essential Encyclopedia Guide to modern art: Styles, Schools and Movements. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

Design Council, n.d. A profile of Margaret Calvert, designer of the UK’s road signing system. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Design Museum, 2006. JOCK KINNEIR + MARGARET CALVERT. [Online] Available at:

Dormer, P., 1993. Design since 1945. London: Thames & Hudson.

Dresser, C., 1873. Principles of Decorative Design. New York: St. Martins Press.

Dychoff, T., n.d. The Signs of the Time: The Modern British Road Sign is 40 Years Old. [Online] Available at:

Dyckhoff, T., 2004. The Signs of the Time: The Modern British Road Sign is 40 Years Old. [Newspaper] Available at: [Accessed 11 September 2012]. Linked source / Mention of The Times newspaper.

Erdinc, C., 2011. A little rewind: Peignot. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 11 September 2012].

Ferebee, A., 1970. A history of design from the Victorian Era to the present. Newyork: Litton Educational Publishing Inc.

Garfield, S., 2011. Just My Type: A Book About Fonts. London: Profile Books.

Gaunt, P., 2010. The Decorative in 20th Century Art. Germany: A Ktiengesellschaft & Co. Kg.

Gill, E. & Skelton, C., 1993. An Essay on Typography. Boston: Godine Publisher.

Glazier, R., 1899. A Manual of Historic Ornament. London: B.T.Batsford Limited.

GRACE, M.L., 2011. Review: OCEAN LINER POSTERS… A FIVE STAR BOOK. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 September 2012].

Greenhalgh, P., 1990. Modernism in Design. London: Reaktion.

Greenhalgh, P., 1993. Quotations & Sources: On design and the decorative arts. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Greenhalgh, P., 2000. Essential Art Nouveau. London: V&A Publications.

Grilo, P.J., 1960. Form, Function and design. Canada: General Publishing Company Ltd.

Hall, P., 2009. A Good Argument. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Hatton, R.G., 1925. Principles of Decoration. London: Chapham & Hall Limited.

Heller, S., 2005. The meanings of type. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Henry, K., 2007. The Development of Sociology and Modernity. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 September 2012].

Hewitt, D.N., 2009. The Image of the Popular Front: The Masses and the Media in Interwar France. [Online] (1) Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Hollis, R., 2001. Graphic Design: A Concise History (World of Art). Thames & Hudson; 2nd Revised edition edition.

Howes, J., 2000. Johnston’s Underground Type. Middlesex: Captial Transport Publishing.

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Jan Tschichold, R.M.R.K.R.H., 1995. The New Typography (2nd Revised edition). The University Press Group Ltd.

Jones, O., 1856. The Grammar of Ornament. London: Day & Son.

Joyce, P., 2003. The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City. London: Verso.

Klemp, K., 2011. Less More The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams Book. Berlin: Die Gestalten Verlag.

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Lichanos, 2011. Form and Function. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Life, J.M.I., 2011. Mistral font: An enduring signature. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 11 September 2012].

Loos, A., 1929. Ornament is Crime.

Loos, A. & Opel, A., 1998. Ornament and crime: selected essays (Studies in Austrian literature, culture, and thought: Translation series). Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press.

Lorand, R., 2000. Aesthetic Order: A Philosophy of Order, Beauty aand Art. London: Routledge.

Marks, T. & Porter, M., 2009. Good Design: Deconstructing Form, Function, and What Makes Design Work. Beverly, MA: Rockport.

McClatchey, C., 2011. The road sign as design classic. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Melman, B., 2006. The Culture of History: English Uses of the Past 1800-1953. USA: Oxford University Press.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts & University of St. Thomas, n.d. University of St. Thomas. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 11 September 2012].

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Munari, B. & Creagh, P., 2008. Design as Art. London: Penguin.

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Wornum, R.N., 2009. Analysis Of Ornament Characteristics Of Styles. Bill Press.


Hood, J., 2007. Specimen of the Typeface Gill Sans. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Birdsall, D., 2011. The new improved version of Common Worship, the services and prayers for the Church of England. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Chunkysimon., 2008. Morning Tide Neil M Gunn. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

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BBC., 2012. BBC’s identity had transformed many times since 1953, but final logo designed with Gill Sans and released in 1988. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2012].

TV Shows

BBC iplayer. (2011). Great British Railway Journeys – Series 2 – 17. Aylesford to Tunbridge Wells. [Online Video]. 25 January. Available from: [Accessed: 16 August 2012].

ITV Player. (2012). The Bletchley Circle – Episode Three. [Online Video]. 20 September. Available from: [Accessed: 21 September 2012].

ITV Player. (2012). The Bletchley Circle – Episode Two. [Online Video]. 13 September. Available from: [Accessed: 21 September 2012].

ITV Player. (2012). The Bletchley Circle – Episode One. [Online Video]. 06 September. Available from: [Accessed: 21 September 2012].


This piece of writing has investigated the hypothesis that ornamentation is unnecessary in modern design. In this enquiry the aim was to access whether this statement was true and what were the reasons for this choice to abandon decoration.

The research has shown that design from around the 1900’s changed due to the industrial revolution. This revolution was one of the main contributing factors that created a shift in social and culture attitudes, which allowed the change in design to progress. As well as this technological developments inspired designers to create work in a different manner.

In general the study supports the idea that modern design does not need unnecessary decoration or ornamentation. However this does also suggest that there could be some negative consequences due to this rejection such as loss of culture and tradition as well as the loss of national identity supported by design.

The study confirms preceding findings and contributes extra evidence that suggests that modern design is determined via social, economical and political issues and that design is something that must be explored in context to develop a deeper understanding of this ornamental rejection.

This investigation has only examined a small section of design. Typography was the main focus within the research however in future studies other design elements such as image could be explored. This would allow for a broader study.

It would also be interesting to examine the effects of modern design with respect to the international style and its effects on national identity.

The case studies that I have looked at throughout this piece of writing have supplied an insight into the context in which designers have rejected ornamentation and decoration in modern design.

One of the main themes that have surfaced is that of technological progress and its relation to modernity and design at the time. Within the evidence found it is clear that technology has made an effect on design whether it is the standardisation created by machine set type or transportation and the advancement in speed.

Along with the topic of technology, transport and speed follows the ideas surrounding how the effects of speed and the experience of time had changed. Typography was not something that defined a space, but more so how space defined a typeface. When a typeface is created it is for a specific reason and has a job to fulfil, it has little or no social otherwise contextual connotations, however once used in specific way for example in an era that is modern, industrial or of social progress it then gains them connotations. This is what is meant by the space defining the typeface.

While there were constant changes within cities and the country, it was important to have some kind of constant. This would have been a typeface and its purpose or use. By enforcing these standards of type, it created a sense of conformity. This meant that the typeface could change the way in which people experienced things. Conformity was way of inflicting rules and making people behave in a certain way. For example the train timetables in Gill Sans allowed the public to understand a complex travel system so that they could move easily.

Another subtopic of technological advancement and its effects on design was that of social progress. With society being able to move around it allowed society to change. New experiences and visiting new places meant that the public would have better knowledge of their country. Allowing people to move means that ideas and cultures can also freely move around. Society trusted these modern typefaces even though they were different from what they had seen before. This trust was based upon the eagerness of change, and this change came at the cost of rejecting ornamental design.

As referred to at length in the literary review, Adolf loos was a great believer in how modern design could benefit society and that the appreciation of ornamentation is something of a backwards society. By society trusting timetables and road signs in unornamented typefaces would suggest that society has advanced due to them not needing to see unnecessary or stylistic decoration.

Loos ideas surrounding the rejection of ornament also link to the economic concerns explored within each of the case studies. Loos believed that ornamentation was a waste of resources therefore the use of machinery was much more appreciated due to it being cost effective. As understood, during the poor economic times there was favouritism to simplicity. This favouritism to minimal design was clear in products produced post second world war when plastic and mass production were at their height.

It is apparent the economy determines quite significantly the process of design. With economy to consider it forces the designer to make conscious choices of materials and mediums. For example the rise of capitalism in the Victorian era meant that making profits within manufacture was important. Handcraft production meant that labour costs were high and this was not economical therefore the concept of modern machine created products was much more appealing.

Modernity and the significant change it had visually on culture and design was massive but it also had a change on people’s perspective. The basic ideas of modernity were not just concentrated in design but also a way of living. Standardisation of systems and products meant that there was an increase in the quality of life. Travelling by car, using mass-produced products and the freedom of movement meant that modern life allowed people to live the way they wished.

The international style was a result of the immense interest regarding modernity largely favoured by those in Europe. The ideas of form, function, purpose and clear intent were obvious within every design piece. However this theme of simplicity and standardisation that is within the each case study also suggests the problems regarding this resistance against ornamentation.

By ornamentation being criticised and suggested to be old fashioned creates a kind of fear within designers. There is a reluctance to use any kind of decoration in case of being accused of being superficial and creating just aesthetical design for the purpose of fashion.

This was not so much the issue with the international style, as its problems were not because of fashion or being superficial but by creating an international style it created problems for cultural and national identity. The theme of society and standardisation was seen as a way to remove barriers that prevented society mixing ultimately it is this what diluted the traditional design differences between countries.

The issues and concerns that Adolf Loos raised may have been taken too literally by designers eager to make conscious change. Regarding the rejection of ornament I don’t feel that this necessarily means that a design is automatically better. This goes the same for decoration, but I do feel that meaningful design elements that may decorate the page are acceptable to use. If an added element allows the message to be commutated clearer then this works. Problems only occur when fashion and design trends become the focus of a designer. If each design outcome looks the same then the designer is not listening to the design needs.

A.M. Cassandre was a typeface designer based in France during the 1920’s up until the late 1940’s. Cassandre was initially a poster designer but also branched out into typography design and they were used in the travel and tourism sector. The posters were classed as machine age. They had a distinctive style that was influenced by modern art. The posters were designed so they always focused on the journey rather than the destination.

Cassandre’s typeface used on the SS Normandie advertisement it was clean, simple and bold with some decoration. This due to the slight French twist on the design. This modern typeface was used in an attempt to capture the ships new streamlined shape and its modern technology. The new typeface was meant to change the perspective that the public had of ocean liners.

During this period there was an importance in maintaining national identity due to the rising popularity of the European international style. There was a focus on retaining the national identity of the French, while attempting to compete with other European cruise companies.
The poster was considered a promotional tool within the industrial revolution. The aim was to create new markets using their transport system, as there was the rising competition from Italy, Germany and England.

Due to the economic depression at the time the French company, Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, which was a private business, had to take a loan via the government. It was important for the government to help out failing ocean liner companies as investing in a countries infrastructure was one of the main ways to help push for an economic boost. Travel and movement was linked with better economy. Many of the shipping companies during the early part of the decade were working at a loss of profit. Even though there was a depression through out Europe the cruise liner industry was extremely popular with the middle classes.

The 1930’s were an era of two extremes both of economic growth as well as recession and depression. During the time in which the economy was good many shipping companies began to create their fleet of liners. Many of these fleets were becoming popular household names as well as national identities for their countries; these identities were to reinforce the countries image of power and capital. The interest in traveling was increasing whether the trip was for vacation, business or migration to another country.

European emigration was popular in the 1920’s due to the promise of a new life and job opportunities in America that Europe did not have. America was the popular emigration location up until 1923 when the immigration restriction act was enforced. Larges amounts of people going to the United States meant problems for the government. By creating restrictions on who could enter and stay within the country meant that they could monitor the movement of people. With US Boarder Control in place criminal acts of smuggling rose. Smuggling of restricted goods as well as people who were desperate to start a new life in America.

Technological advancements during the early 1930’s meant that the speed of ships increased dramatically. Steam ships ran by coal were not much faster than ships ran by sail power. Many steam powered ships would run out of fuel while traveling which made many tourists nervous about there long trips. This lack of speed made journeys by boat unappealing compared to the modern railway systems that were fast and reliable. By using oil as fuel the speed of the ship increased and the crewmembers needed to maintain the ship while traveling decreased allowing the companies overheads to be reduced. Speed and size was key to being the best in competing ocean liners.

The technological advancements in steam, electrical power and machinery meant that the SS Normandie was once of the fastest and largest liners. It held more passengers and was able to reach destinations sooner. The speed changed the perception of traveling between Europe and North America from being one of a long hauled tiresome journey to a trip that was quick and relaxing. The world was getting smaller, countries were becoming closer together due to the speed of transport getting quicker.

Closer countries meant that the process of globalization was happening a lot faster. By people being able to move quicker meant that traditions, ideas and information could also move quicker. Culture and artistic styles moved from one place to another rapidly. This movement of people is what allowed the international style to become so popular as it replicated the idea of there being no obvious cultural or style.

As well as technological development, the design of ships also altered. Wartime ships were boxy and geometric where as the new turbo powered ships had an aerodynamic and sleek appearance. This new engineering towards the shape of the boat allowed the speed of the boat to increase further. The speeds of the new ships were one of their predominant selling points. This would be a new market for France and other countries by sending Europeans to America, in luxury and comfort.

Along with speed as a marketing focus, the interior and the sleeping arrangements for the travelers were created with the intention of luxury. Ships began being used in the travel and tourism market. By creating lavish cabins and dining halls helped passengers forget the distance in which they were travelling. Travelling was also part of the holiday, where as previous to this holidays only started once at the destination. This idea of importance of the journey was echoed in Cassandre’s posters.

Luxury was not for everyone. Few could afford first class cabins however tourism within the second class was popular. Ships like the SS Normandie become unpopular due to the large amount of space dedicated to those in first class. There was less consideration and space allocated for those in second class. The ship was associated with travel for only the rich and famous.

The social divide within ocean liners was similar to that across all transport systems. Many rival companies to the SS Normandie saw this and focused their efforts on creating more comfortable second class travel. With this popularity of trips aboard the liners had to stick to strict schedules. Once the ship was at its destination it would have to drop off its travelers, refuel and then return to its original dock.

Transport was a sans serif typeface created by Jock Kinneir and Margret Calvert for road signs across Britain during the late 1950’s. Before the use of Transport, Britain’s roads were littered with finger signposts, which were an assortment of shapes, sizes and colours. The inconsistencies went across the United Kingdom and caused a lot of frustration and confusion for drivers. The production of motor vehicles was growing and their rising popularity created concerns for the government surrounding road safety.

The number of road users grew dramatically forcing the preparation and building work for the first motorways in Britain. With technological and engineering advancements cars were becoming faster and more reliable as well as an iconic product of modernity. Due to this advancement, the environment in which these vehicles were used in had to change. The motorway was created so that large amounts of traffic could flow throughout Britain without going through and disturbing towns.

By avoiding towns it would allow roads to remain straight ensuring the high speeds they were capable of, could be maintained. These new roads and speeds were a new experience for public. Many had only encountered travelling long distances when they travelled via train, now many could experience this modernised luxury within the comfort and privacy of their own vehicle.

Modernity was considered the new way of seeing. It was thought that modernity modern life should be regulated, streamlined and order should be imposed. Function and purpose was a requirement of this new perspective. Without this regulation it was thought there would be chaos, socially as well as what had been seen on roads that used old finger signposts.

With speeds of up to seventy miles per hour these fast carriages needed sign systems that differed from the finger posts. Easy and readable signs were extremely important. The encounter of the motorway was totally different to that of the A and B roads. The new speeds and modernized roads changed the way in which people drove as well as how they travelled. The time in which drivers would be able to read signs changed significantly. Previously drivers would have had much longer to read signs however now they would have to decipher information within seconds.

Initially the transport typeface was used on only motorways but eventually rolled out across all roads in the United Kingdom. Due to the rise of traffic on all roads standardizing of driver’s behaviour via signage was a way to limit road accidents. The use of mechanical type reflected the ridge rules and the system of conformity in which the roads were to be used. These signs enforced a set of official rules and regulations that were later formed into the Highway Code.

Initially the motorway was built to deal with the traffics needs, however it was also an attempt to encourage on economic growth. A side effect of the government investing into the countries road and rail network was that it increased the masses ease of movement. The paradox in which the government faced was they preferred the public to remain in one place however it is their duty to sure the economy is strong, even though it will increase movement. They confronted the fears of people moving around by the government controlling the laws on speed they in turn had political control of the roads. Speed was considered a power; therefore limiting the masses pace of mobility limited the power that they potential held.

These limits were followed up by drivers risking the loss of their license and even the threat of imprisonment for not adhering to the laws. This would ensure that all road users would experience the system the same way as well as deter any reckless behaviour.

The government wanted to introduce modernity via the transport system, both road and railway. This post war era was a perfect time for mass social and cultural change. Many people criticized the government for standardizing the signage as they believed that mimicking European design was going to destroy Britain’s historic national identity however many wished to remove the traces of war time Britain.The new signage design made a visual attempt to distinguish the two eras. Road signs were the ideal place to project the government’s ideologies they were large, unmissable and something the public had to interact with if they wished to remain mobile.

These signs could enforce the government’s concept of reassurance. Consistency and stability was needed after the distress of the war. Consistent meant safe. Consistency implied that there was a logical system and structure in place therefore it should limit the things that could go wrong. The roads signs were an obvious and consistent reminder of safety for the road user as well as reassuring Britain’s future.

The standards being imposed on the public were not blatantly obvious. The new road signs were becoming part of Britain’s landscape that could influence people’s behaviour. The aim of these signs was to be understood but not seen, that their purpose was to give directions, and understanding them would be second nature. The unornamented type choice was intentional. By limiting distractions to the driver it would was reduce road traffic accidents.

The standards were also put in place largely due to the need for consistency in trade. Standardising time and mapping space allowed capitalism to prosper. Standardization of the road signs allowed the increasing traffic, to flow easier meaning that travel times became shorter and was cheaper than the railway. Transportation of consumer goods could go from manufacture to shop displays quicker and therefore sell faster.

With the growth of the car industry in Britain, it meant an increase in labour employment in factories. Cars were slowly becoming an item that each household had due to the positive economy and the consistent employment. Even though the car was becoming an everyday item, cars were marketed as a luxury item. The car was changing from an item that was created for mobility and ease of transport, to an inspirational need. Social classes may have been diminishing but clarifying your wealth status via the car you drove was increasing.

The car became a desirable object due to the way it transformed travelling. Travelling by train was becoming increasingly unpopular due to the unreliability of the railway system. In contrast to the railway a car allowed the public to take direct routes to their destinations, such as commuting to work. Using the car also removed the anxiety of being late or the worry of personal safety that the railway caused.


The Gill Sans was considered a typeface that captured modernity and became instantly popular due to its uncomplicated and rational design. From this growing interest it became the typeface choice for the Church of England, BBC, Penguin books and North Eastern Railways. The typeface was dominantly used within the public services.

Cecil Dandridge commissioned Gill Sans for the North Eastern Railways identity. The typeface was used on all printed material as well as train station furniture and decor. By adopting Gill Sans as the only typeface that North Eastern Railways used it created a solid corporate identity that was absent before. By having a unified appearance it suggested that the company was reliable, consistent and a singular company rather than multiple railway groups before its nationalisation.

This overall voice, gave North Easter Railway a strong sense that it was a powerful corporation. This undertaking of one typeface was a significant step forward. By rejecting the previous Victorian style and hand painted typefaces in favor of machine set type. The North Eastern Railway made a bold statement to its public that through standardization it was part of a new technological and social era.

The machine inspired esthetic removed the concept of individual craftsman and projected the ideas of unity and collaboration. Mass production was seen as a pathway for social progress. The concept that products could be produced cheaper and quicker would mean that anyone, from any background could purchase the same items. This removal of high priced and rare products would break down the barriers between the social classes. This break down meant that society would eventually become standardised to an extent, making society more equal and united. This process of unifying was similar to the way in which many large companies were moving towards one identity, furthermore meaning that the masses were also becoming a powerful voice too.

During this period the 1920’s were also known as the “roaring twenties” due to the persistent growth in economy along side the positive changes in culture and lifestyle. Society was moving forward and the transport systems had to keep up. The industrial industry was at an all time high and the sales of cars and consumer goods were on the increase. Cities were becoming places where people wanted to live and work. The term “Metropolitan Centre” was becoming increasingly popular for modernised cities. The popularity of these cities was increasing with the ease of access. The railway connections between cities and being able to travel large distances in a short space of time were predominant reasons for their attractiveness to travellers. These fast railway systems were considered the height of modernity. The ideas of modernism were beginning to filter through to the population and many saw technology as the answer to fulfil these modern ideologies.

The North Eastern Railway had a reputation for being pioneers of architecture and design. They were one of the first railways to use electricity throughout their train system. These advancements in technology helped North Eastern Railway become the most innovative transport company across England. The better trains meant better service gaining them more interest as well as customers.

The printed materials for North Eastern Railway were machine set type, which created a consistent and unified design in each piece as well as throughout the company. The typeface was not the only form of standardization. Due to the complexity of the railway system there was a need for an understandable and readable timetable. Standardization was a system that echoed the ideas surrounding modernity. The railway was a place that standardization affected the individual constantly. The importance of understanding the complicated train timetable was linked to the understanding of how modernity and the city as a machine worked. These timetables changed the way society moved around along with their relationship with the environment they travelled in.

Railway timetables and the importance of train times began during the 1840’s when the Great Western train company standardized local times to what they called “Railway Time” this time system was eventually synchronized with Greenwich meantime.

The train timetable, the Railway time, as well as the arrival and departures of the trains were becoming a significant part of society. The public were centering their daily activities around the railway. This focus on the time caused many to find the pace of modern life becoming a strain. The dictation to via the railway system caused members of society to suffer from the anxiety of missing trains or being late to appointments. This concern of railways did not stop there; using the railway was subjected to worries surround personal safety. Many saw the train compartments as an element of privacy in their journey while others saw the separated carriages, which allowed men and woman to mix as a place were criminal or immoral behavior could occur.

Train carriages and stations were one of the first places where people from various social classes could mix together. Therefore this added to this underlying anxiety of whom you may have been sharing a carriage with. These communal areas allowed social classes to experience what kind of person lived on the other side of the social barrier.

Trains allowed people to move around a lot more. The train lines changed from a transport system for moving goods around the country to an infrastructure that would cater for commuters as well as those wishing to travel for leisure.The city with its newfound metropolitan status was drawing a new kind of worker in.

The industrialisation allowed machines to produce mass products rather than a factory full of works. The job roles in the city were changing; white-collar clerical employment was vastly over taking the interest in skilled labor profession. This in turn meant the role of the railway was also changing. Fewer goods were being transferred around Britain via train allowing the space to be used as a commuter transport. The concept of living outside London in suburbia and traveling into London on a daily basis was becoming vastly popular.

Traveling for leisure was also rising as the economy was growing the public was starting to have a disposable income, which could be spent on product or holidays. Day trips to the seaside were increasingly common via the railway. The changing role of the railway meant that it had to appeal to the masses. Marketing the North Eastern Railway as a modern way to travel allowed them to change the public’s perception of the purpose of the railway.

Yesterday some friends and I were discussing our dissertation subjects, which made me realise a few things;

1. “What is good design” is a too farer question from typefaces used in travel.
2. I couldn’t seem to sum up my project.

So this blog post is a kind of summarisation for myself and also to get myself to focus on what I am actually looking at and the point for it.

Also today while doing the usual dissertation house keeping I accidentally put my title for my project together. Obviously it will develop some more, but at lest now it is a bit more specific.

The Rejection of Ornament: How the Industrial Revolution Shaped Modern Typography

To me that pretty much sums it up, so if I explain my project further then it may become more apparent why I have put together that title.

The Explanation

The subject of my dissertation stems from the question of “What is good design” as throughout the history of design that is a question that gets raised again and again, perhaps not this exact question but variations of this e.g Principles, what are the rules, the equations etc.

However this question is far to vast, as encompasses far to many subquestions. Therefor to lead onto my subquestion I want to focus on something that is an issue for me in design. For example when I create a design piece I am always conscious of the fact to not decorate the design and to create something which I can justify (and not with the reason – “because it looks good”)

This functional outlook all comes from the saying “form follows function”. From looking into this area I came across an architect called Adolf Loos who also followed this rule, Loos once wrote a Essay titled Ornament is Crime. Which had a huge impact on design as a whole. Loos felt that ornamented design was something that was outdated and suggested society was backwards.
From this background information I have a hypothesis that ornamentation has no place in modern design.

As I am looking a modern design, for my case studies I am looking at the time when modernism was something everyone strived for.
I have chosen 3 case studies, specifically looking at typefaces which are all sans serif. I have chosen typefaces as in design I believe they speak a lot about the era which they were created, and pre victorian and during in fact typefaces were usually hand lettered and extremely floral. So it should be clear to see the demise of the ornament and decoration.

My first case study is Gill sans – The typeface used on the NER ( North Eastern Railways).
Second case study is Transport (Calvert & Jock) – Typeface used on all british road signs.
Third case study is A.M. Cassandre (not sure which typeface but the one used on the) Normandie Poster

All these case studies are not exactly about the typefaces, but about the space that defines them and how the typefaces impact on the experience of time and space.
These typefaces were created in a time where standardisation and striving for modernity was a key motivation, by using machine set type there was a sense of conformity (neat and tidy type rather than the unruly hand lettering)
These typefaces were created because of the industrial revolution. To control society.

People (a lot of people) were beginning to move around, the creation of faster trains, better roads, and ocean cruise liners means people are harder to control when they are not in one space (e.g. the city)
The  need for control is all due to the elitist culture and the fear of the masses ( if the people at the top can not control the masses then they may stop the elitists being at the top!). By standardising road signs and train timetables (the timetable was literally a map of time and space), it causes a standardisation of the masses. Meaning they must follow and fit into this system other wise they get left behind. (e.g life revolved around the coming and goings of the trains)
Travel was changing, by being faster, everything else had to become faster. Distances were getting shorter. The people at the top wanted to slow this down. By having to read, naturally slows you down.
Ornamentation was something that did not fit in with this modernisation.

Obviously this is just a brief overview of my cases and I do need to clarify my ideas and cases a lot more. But I think this gives the general gist of what I am trying to write about.