Gebrauchsgraphik International Advertising Art was originally founded in 1923 by Berlin-based professor, Dr. H. K. Frensel. A bi-lingual, English and German publication, its pioneering artwork was birthed from an era before graphic design had evolved to the gargantuan media tool that it is today. In the publication’s earliest stages, graphic design as a trade was emerging and pre-war editions of the magazine exhibit a distinctly futurist, art deco feel with obvious influences from Bauhaus and Construtivism. These initial editions in the opening decades of Gebrauchsgraphik‘s lifespan essentially helped lay the groundwork for the graphic design journals that would follow, and comparisons are consequentially drawn, especially between Gebrauchsgraphik and the later Graphis.
Gebrauchsgraphik continued to exist as a monthly publication until 1944. A lengthy hiatus followed until 1950, when the publication returned just in time for what some have described as the “Golden Age of Advertising” under the name Novum Gebrauchsgraphik. This era spurred the birth of the Creative Revolution, when a younger generation of advertisers took over from their tired predecessors to innovate advertising with a more receptive view of their demographic, which incorporated humour and intellect with the more obvious tools of social aspiration and personal ambition. With evolving new content and technique, the conjunction between art and advertising followed suit and Gebrauchsgraphik was on hand to document this growth accordingly.
Gebrauchsgraphik continues to be published today by Munich-based publisher, Stiebner Verlag, under the shortening of Novum, which was adopted in the late ’90s. A publication that has run for 80 years – successfully surviving numerous recessions, cultural undulations and a war – is a feat worth celebrating, and the modern covers are as exceptional as the wisened ones documented here.