Czech Book Covers of the 1920's and 1930's

Explore the Collection
Selected Biographies
SIL Digital Library
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Library
selected biographies

Sutnar's highly functional and organized designs were guided by the following principles, stated in his own words: "Each individual problem requires the answer to three fundamental questions: (1) What is the aim of the information to be conveyed? (to determine the typeface). (2) What is the content of this information? (to determine the means to be employed in the design). And (3) What is the relationship between this information and that which comes before and after in the series? (to determine the appropriate binding and layout)."

KAREL TEIGE (1900-1951)
A leading theoretician of the Devetsil group, and its spokesman almost from its foundation, Teige initiated early Czech contact with international avant-garde artists. He founded Poetism, a long-standing philosophy in Czech avant-garde book design, in the early 1920s with fellow Devetsil member and poet Vítezslav Nezval. He was also influential in introducing Surrealism into Czech book design in the 1930s, again initiating contact with international artists, particularly Surrealists in France.

TOYEN (1902-1980)
Toyen was the psudonymn of Marie Cermínová. An active designer within the Devetsil group, Toyen invented Artificialism, a later incarnation of Poetism which stressed the beauty of machines, with Jindrich Štyrsky. Also an early member of the Czech/French Surrealist group, Toyen's style evolved over the years to meet the changing demands of the Czech social situation.