The relevance of "Bauhaus"
One of the Bauhaus core principles is the end of separation of the “Werkmeister” (the skilled craft expert with a deep understanding of materials and production techniques, who ultimately produces the art piece) and the “Formmeister” (the conceptual expert who comes up with the idea and the concept of the art). The Bauhaus thinkers detested this separation between the highly regarded thinker and concepter (Formmeister) versus the more hands-on, poorer paid executer of someone’s ideas and concepts (Werkmeister). This separation of form and production/technology hindered the creation of true art concepts according to the Bauhaus school of thoughts. Bauhaus had even its own course for any new students called “Vorkurs” (Pre-Course) with the focus of dissolving the distinction between these two masters. In 1923 it was called “Art and Technology: A new Unity”. This principle could not have more relevance for today’s marketing discourse, it might even worthwhile to design a new marketing centric “Vorkurs” for most marketing organizations.
A few months ago I wrote about the trend that successful digital organizations integrate the technologist/producer closer into the traditionally defined creative team of the copy writer and art director. It seems that the Bauhaus founders understood the danger of being too alienated to the ultimate means of creation. Interestingly enough, most famous painters have always closely held control of the production of their master pieces, even in cases where they delegate some of their executional work to students who work in their atelier.
And in today’s marketing world, technology (as the ultimate way of production of marketing programs) is becoming more and more central to any marketing idea. To complicate this Bauhaus principle which I fully support, we can witness a strong commodization and outsourcing of production technologies and work, primarily due to lower labor costs and more repetitive and non differentiating production cycles (who wants to create and quality ensure a simple Web Banner?).
The reasonable way forward of combining the Bauhaus principle with today’s reality of cost pressure is the separation of innovative technology and production ways that should be closely held as part of a newly created marketing team, including the “Werkmeister”, from the repetitive way of mass produced elements of a marketing program that does not require neither the attention of the “Formmeister” nor the “Werkmeister”.