Calender 2019 in Bauhaus-inspired style

Data Visualization, Design

In the last weeks I have been searching for the calender equivalent of a Bauhaus style watch. Such watches, notably those designed by Max Bill*, are functional and free from decorative elements. They have a timeless elegance about them. Available German office calenders, for example this Brunnen calender, lack elegance in the details. In fact the only widely acknowledged calender in a modernist design seems to be this calender designed by Massimo Vignelli in 1966.

Thus I created my own Bauhaus-inspired calender. You can download it here and print it yourself double-sided on standard DIN A4 paper, resulting in a DIN A5 sized calender. The pages are folded in the middle and then reversed and refolded as the months change. With twelve months on three standard sheets of paper this is a minimalist calender that deserves the name. I prepared two versions (in German only):

I experimented with several possibilities of hanging the calender with standard office equipment. I finally settled on using a small (white) foldback clip (see picture). This serves as hanger, binding, and presses the pages together a bit to keep them from fluttering. If you use thick paper (170 g/m² works well) you can also stand it upright as a desktop calender. Other methods also work. You can punch a whole in the middle (be careful when doing this, if the hole is not centered the pages will be badly aligned when you rotate pages) or pass a loop of string under the fold. The pages may then look less fluttery if you fix them with a paper clip or similar means in the lower middle. Pins and magnets also work, of course.

I created the calender using the open source layout program Scribus. I wanted a font that is similar to Paul Renner’s Futura, but runs wider. I ended up using the free fonts Typo Grotesk for lettering and Florence Sans for numerals.

This project nicely demonstrates how minimalist design works. An effortless, natural looking design is often the result of a lot of work on the details. I used an underlying raster here and fine-tuned character spacing, weight, size, and alignment of two different fonts to get the desired result. Also, elegant minmalism and straightforward simplicity are not the same thing. A straightforward simple design would keep all lettering and numerals at the same size and omit the line under the weeks. But when such details are omitted the design loses all depth and sophistication.

*Note: Max Bill studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau 1927 – 1928. The Bauhaus Institution was closed in 1933. Max Bill designed his famous wristwatch designs for Junghans around 1961. So it can be a matter of debate whether these watches should be called „Bauhaus watches“. Earlier watch designs considered to be typical for the Bauhaus such as the Stowa Antea and the Nomos Tangente show similar design characteristics. The Nomos Tangente was designed by Suzy Günther around 1990 based on a watch from the 1930s. Stowa has been producing watches in the look since 1937. The original watchfaces were produced by the company Weber & Baral in Pforzheim, whose founder Arthur Weber played a role in its design. (Where is the connection between Arthur Weber in Pforzheim and the Bauhaus ?)