Wolfgang Weingart was born in 1941 in Constance, which is at the foot of the alps in southern Germany. Wolfgang is internationally famous and is know for his typography and graphic design skills. Wolfgang spent much of his childhood in Germany, even though he moved around often with his mother. In 1947 is when he starting primary school in Germany, and he absolutely hated it. Not that he was a terrible student, but he was never fond of anything such as algebra, chemistry, or having to pray at the beginning of class (which he happened to hate the most).
He was not an angel as a child. In fact, he had been caught stealing a few times from his mother. One time in particular, he was caught stealing money out of her purse and she punished him with a wooden spoon. It was then that he realized that trust and money both had to be earned.
In 1948 Wolfgang Weingart and his mother moved into the Castle of Salem. Here his mother worked as a physician. Together they lived in a small bedroom that was intended to be a bedroom for visitors that would visit the abbey. They lived lonely and frugal here for a few years. But Wolfgang had many fond memories here. He would remember not being invited to the royal parties or events, and he was just tall enough to spy on the royal family in the hall through the keyholes. Or sometimes the chefs in the house would treat his mother and him to a fresh meal of whatever it was they was hunted in the courtyards that day by the Duke.
1954 was the year that Wolfgang and is mother had moved to Lisbon, Portugal. He had loved it here. Actually, he loved everything more than he loved war-ridden Germany. He had gone to school here, and still was not fond of his core curriculum. But that had changed yet again in 1958 when his mother and him, but mostly his mother, made the decision that he should love back to Germany and attend a two year art program at the Mertz Academy in Stuttgart. Luckily for him his parents had financed for him to go there and they had great confidence in the program he was in. They did not know much about what he had a chance at in the future with the arts, but they believed he would make it happen. As much as he had loved it though, was too was also concerned about his future career path. He was unsure about whether or not the activities he was taking part in at school could related to what he wanted to be doing in the future, which he was still unsure about even at this time. His parents would not let him back out though and mad him finish the program.
Experimental designs with type, texture, and color
Wolfgang grew a strong interest in making prints that were able to be reproduced. Mertz had contributed to his fundamental understanding of reproduction, which was later applied to his studies at the Basel School of Design where he applied it to typography. He had discovered the schools printing facilities at the age of 17 and he had set metal type here for the first time ever. It was the start of something great.
He had quickly learned typesetting, linocut, and woodblock printing. He had completed a three year program typesetting apprenticeship in hot metal hand composition. While doing this is when he met Karl August Hanke, who made a large impact on his life. He became his mentor and pushed him to do more. Karl encouraged Wolfgang to apply for the Basel School of Design. He had also introduced Wolfgang to design that was being made outside of Germany, particularly in Switzerland, where he later studied.
Wolfgang's start to reproduced prints
Study between lines and letter forms
Wolfgang traveled to Switzerland in 1963 to apply in person, after being pushed by Karl August Hanke, to the Basel School of Design. The following year he was enrolled as an independent student.
Something within the school was changing, whether Wolfgang knew it or not. In 1968 designers at the school by the name of Hofman and Ruder decided on what they wanted the main goal of the design school to be for postgrad graphic design professionals. They wanted their students to work in small collective groups that were carefully selected to further develop their skills and energize their engagement with design on intensive projects. Hofman made a big move and invited 27-year-old Weingart, who was almost unknown, to teach and conduct the class. He was assigned to teach typography. He accepted in a heartbeat and before long designers from all over the world were wanting into the program.
Wolfgang Weingart had felt right at home in the classroom. He was amazed at how much he enjoyed teaching the class, considering he did not enjoy being in school as a pupil. Being the professor gave him the freedom to explore and experiment with design. His best works were completed while in the classroom. Not only did his students learn, but he too learned more about design than ever imagined while conducting his classes. It was his experimental lab.
Lloyd Miller, who studied with Weingart in the early 1980s, notes, “He is a master and pioneer in this field....Weingart’s working method was very much a precursor to the layering capabilities software programs [like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop] would eventually offer.” Wolfgang enjoys being there and involved for the entire process. He is present for the concept, preparation, and finishing touches. Most of his work revolves around experimental typography. His work is known for his application of graphical and typographical elements on the page. His type at first seems to be an image on a page. He worked with type in more ways than type meant solely for reading. Wolfgang worked with the forms that the type block formed and it is what had interested him most. This is what had influenced the “New Wave” typography, which soon grew into Post-modernism. He had rejected the international style and laid the foundation for this New- wave typographic movement. Graphic designers studied his work and fell in love with his methods used for producing his work.