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Trond Klevgaard

PhD Work

New Typography in Scandinavia: Domesticating theory and practice amongst the graphic trades, 1927-43

This, the first extended account of New Typography’s path in Scandinavia, does not aim to trace the roots of graphic design or to demonstrate the existence of a hitherto unknown typographic avant-garde to rival the work of a Jan Tschichold, an El Lissitzky or the Bauhaus. Rather, it seeks to determine the extent of New Typography’s impact in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and to gain insight into how this direction in typography was interpreted by those working in the graphic trades at the time. Based on an exhaustive study of graphic trade journals published in these three countries between the years of 1927 and 1943, the thesis charts debate on New Typography and discusses the journals’ changing designs. Additional visual material is sourced from a number of Scandinavian archives. The spread of New Typography’s theory and aesthetic from elsewhere in Europe is interpreted by making use of concepts like domestication and networks rather than diffusion and centre-periphery. In dealing with a period in which the graphic designer had yet to appear as a professional figure, close attention is paid to the different cultural, organizational and technological factors which informed the practices of master printers and compositors, architects, commercial artists and lay-out men in order to understand how and why New Typography achieved different levels of penetration amongst these groups.


  • PhD


    School of Humanities


    History of Design, 2012–2017

  • My primary area of focus is typography and graphic design. I am particularly interested in Scandinavian examples, and their relationships to ideas of modernism and to politics. Because of the geographical focus of my research I am also interested in theories of how styles and ideas spread. My primary interests as a graphic designer are in the fields of typography, book design and information design.

  • Degrees

  • MA Graphic Design, London College of Communication, 2007; BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design, London College of Communication, 2006
  • Experience

  • Lecturer in graphic design, Westerdals Oslo School of Arts Communication and Technology, 2017–ongoing; Second dissertation supervisor, History of Design, Royal College of Art, London, 2016–2017; Independent graphic designer, London, 2009–ongoing
  • Conferences

  • On writing about New Typography from the margins: problems and approaches, DHS 2017: Making and Unmaking the Environment, University of Oslo, 7-9 Sep. 2017; A Reconsideration of narratives of Graphic Design History, seen from the perspective of the Scandinavian printing trade, From craft to technology and back again, The Printing Historical Society / National Print Museum, Dublin, 30-31 Mar. 2017; From Functionalism to Functional Typography in Scandinavian book design, Face Forward, Dublin Institute of Technology, 11-12 Dec. 2015; The Future-People vote with the Labour Party: The photograph in Scandinavian political graphics, 1929-39, Photography in Print: Photographic Research Centre Annual Conference, DeMontford University, 22 Jun. 2015; Differing neutralities: Concrete artists, graphic design and the printing trade in 1930s Sweden and Switzerland, NORDIK 2015, University of Iceland, 14-17 Feb. 2015; Practical Scandinavianism – the journal Grafisk Revy and its relation to New Typography, ICDHS 2014, Universidade de Aveiro, 8-11 Jul. 2014