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Issue 1 6th May 2014

Ne isual Language Form Follows Fuction: An exploration of Modernism and Post Modernism

Contents s t n e t n Co



Grid System



Post Modernism

3 5 7 13 15 23

Post Moder Post Modernism is a design movement that evolved in the mid 60’s as a critical responce to the dominance and perceived sterility of modernism. Embracing art, architecture and design. It re-established interest in ornamnet, symbolism and visual wit. Unconstrained by dogma, post-modern designers rejected modern ism’s obsession with progress and challenged the fundamental tenets of order and discipline espoused by the Bauhaus.


rnism There are several characteristics which lend art to being postmodern; these include bricolage, the use of words prominently as the central artistic element, collage, simplification, appropriation, performance art,the recycling of past styles and themes in a modern-day context, as well as the break-up of the barrier between fine and high arts and low art and popular culture.


Modern ism Modernism, in general, includes the activities and creations of those who felt the traditional forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, organization, and activities of daily life were becoming outdated in the new up coming political environment industrialized normal world. Notable characteristic in todays world of Modernism is self-consciousness,which often led to experiments with form, along with the use of techniques that drew attention to the processes and materials used in creating a painting, poem and buildings.


n m

ism is a term used to embrace a diverse range of art movemnets and ideas that emerged during the first half of the 20th century and profoundly influenced the highly rank subsequent development of art, architecture and design. There was also a widespread utopian belief that mechanization and technology if properly used could produce a better less divided society. Modernism simply comes from the definition of modern thought and practise. The practise going back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped Modernism was the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities.


Bauhaus The Bauhaus was the most influential modernist art school of the 20th century, one whose approach to teaching, and understanding art’s relationship to society and technology, Which lead on to having a major impact in central and East Europe and the United States long after it closed. It was shaped by the 19th and early 20th centuries trends such as Arts and Crafts movement, which had sought to level the distinction between fine and applied arts, and to reunite creativity and manufacturing. “If today’s arts love the machine, technology and organization, if they aspire to precision and reject anything vague and dreamy, this implies an instinctive repudiation of chaos and a longing to find the form appropriate to our times.” Oskar Schlemmer


Minimalism In the visual arts and music, minimalism is a style that uses pared - down design elements. Minimalism in the arts began in post–World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. It derives from the reductive aspects of Modernism and is often interpreted as a reaction against Abstract expressionism and a start to bridge to a different broad range postminimal art practices. The term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture where in the subject is reduced to its necessary elements. Minimalistic design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. The work of De Stijl artists is a major source of reference for such work: De Stijl expanded the ideas that could be expressed by very p articularly organizing such basic elements as lines and planes. Minimalism and science fiction may have lead to the late twentieth century futuristic architecture design and modern home decor.


Neo-Plasticism Neo-Plasticism was a very obscure type of art, yet very minimallstic. Its composition consisted of white ground, upon which was painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black thick or thin lines and three distant bright bold primary colours. Mondrain notably founded De Stijl, a journal of the De Stijl group, in which the published his first essays defining his history, for which he used the term Neo-Plasticism.


De Stijl De Stijl is supposedly derived from Gottfried Semper’s which Curl suggests was mistakenly believed to advocate material is and functionalism. In general, De Stijl proposed ultimate simplicity an d ab straction, both in architecture and painting, by using only straight horizontal and vertical lines and rectangular forms. Furthermore, their formal vocabulary was limited to the primary colours, red, yellow, and blue, and the three primary values, black, white, and grey. The works avoided symmetry and attained aesthetic balance by the use of opposition.


Constructivism Constructivism was an artistic and architectural philosophy that originated in Russia beginning in 1919, a rejection of the idea of autonomous art. The movement was in favour of art as a practice for social purposes. Constructivism had a great effect on modern art movements of the 20th century, influencing trends such as the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements. Its influence was pervasive, with major impacts upon architecture, graphic, industrial design, theatre, film, dance, fashion and to some extent music.

Initially it acted as a lightning rod for the hopes and ideas of many of the most advanced Russian artists who supported the revolution’s goals. It borrowed ideas from Cubism, Suprematism and Futurism, but at its heart was an entirely new approach to making objects, one which sought to abolish the traditional artistic concern with composition, and replace it with ‘construction.’ Constructivism called for a careful technical analysis of modern materials, and it was hoped that this investigation would eventually yield ideas that could be put to use in mass production, serving the ends of a modern, Communist society.


Often referred to as the International Typographic Style or the International Style, the style of design that originated in Switzerland in the 1940s and 50s was the basis of much of the develop ment of graphic design during the mid 20th century. Led by designers Josef M端ller-Brockmann at the Zurich School of Arts and Krafts and Armin Hofmann at the Basel School of Design, the style favored simplicity, legibility and objectivity.


Of the many contributions to develop from the two schools were the use of, sans - serif typography, grids and asym metrical layouts. Also stressed was the combination of typography and photo graphy as a means of visual communication. The primary influential works were developed as posters, which were seen to be the most effective means of communication.

D e s i g n 12

The Grid System The grid system in graphic design is a way of organizing content on a page, using any combination of margins, guides, rows and columns. It is commonly seen in newspaper and magazine layout with columns of text and images. One grid, or a collection of grids, may be used across an entire project to achieve a consistent look and feel. In a finished product, the grid is invisible,but following it helps in creating successful prints, for publishing and for web layouts.

“ The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice. ” Josef Müller-Brockmann




Helvetica was developed in 1956 by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann. Haas set out to design a new sans-serif typeface for the Swiss market. Originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, its design was based on Schelter-Grotesk and Haas’ Normal Grotesk. The aim of the new design was to create a neutral typeface that had great clarity, no intrinsic meaning in its form, and could beused on a wide variety of signage as the basics across the world.

In 1960, the typeface’s name was changed by Haas’ German parent company Stempel to Helvetica (meaning Swiss in Latin) in order to make it more marketable internationally. Characteristics; Tall x-height, which makes it easier to read in smaller sizes. Two-storied a (with curves of bowl and of stem). Narrow t and f. Square-looking s. Bracketed top serif of 1. Rounded off square tail of R.


Josef Müller


As with most graphic designers that can be classified as part of the Swiss Interna tional Style, Joseph Müller Brockmann was influenced by the ideas of several different design and art movements including Constructivism, De Stijl, Suprematism and the Bauhaus. He is perhaps the most well - known Swiss designer and his name is probably the most easily recognized whentalking about the period. He was born and raised in Switzerland and by the age of 43 he became a teacher at the Zurich school of arts and crafts.

Brockman style is very unique and well known. He use of very plain black and white imagary with the use of a veriaty of thick and thin black lines to create a bold powerful image is what i like about him. The use of curves with selected light shading creates a diamic 3D feel creating the depth he’s looking for in his work. His Beethoven piece is his well known poster very simple but very simplistic. Which only contains different black lines and curves giving him his desired outcome.


El Lissitzky ky

El Lissitzky was a Russian born artist , designer, typographer, photographer and architect who designed many exhibitions and propaganda for the Soviet Union in the early 20th century. His development of theideas behindthe Suprematist art movement were very influential in the developme nt of the Bauhaus and the Constructivist art movements. His stylistic charac ter i st ics and ex perimentation with production techniques developed in the 1920s and 30s have been an influenceon graphicdesigners ever since then. El Lissitky design is simple but elegant, his use of shapes and colour like reds blacks and browns gives a nice design. Also the change from having a 2d image and transcribing that into a 3D image built to be on a wall is also a nice effect, which possibly i could incorporate into my work.


l e x e D r e t l a W Walter Dexel is one of the outstanding exponents of 1920s Constructivism. As a painter Dexel was an autodidact. He studied art history under Heinrich Wölfflin and Fritz Burger in Munich from 1910 to 1914. His early pictures were influenced by Cézanne’s landscapes, with his later work being influenced by Cubism and Expressionism. Walter Dexel was not restricted to panel paintings but also worked as a typographer, an advertising designer and designed interiors and stage settings.In 1928 he wrote a book entitled “Das Wohnhaus von Heute” together with his wife Grete Dexel, which reflects the artist’s interest in the issues of modern living, which the artist showed from an early age.

Walter Dexel work Is very unique in using random shapes and lines to create his work like in the image above. His use of using only two colours shows his ideas has been based on Cubism where the lack of colour is creating the image like the De Stijl movement, type of work is based on.



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Au an s s s ad tu tr N di ia- eu ve rt Sw ed Hu bu isi r a n i g t t ng z g O ar w e H m rla re y as e an n ll (T b st ag d. Fü od or ar er Fr ss ay n te M o i l d n us i f C m o Ar z 1 hi r te so th 19 t I ech 904 rm 3 n e w o 2 s es I I J n t s n n e i 1 B l se e du a an 9 tu ov G d es 3 s t r s a Ba xhi e l H 6 u t e k i r g i sle bit sp n iew an ae he n ia) lich c Z . i s d , e o H b k an n c tu e u i e i r s i d d d ali io bu e Im co ric e h th es zi d m p n g” ito or es , e ign ng in m In . t Z r i te H n a ür ag fo in rn is d ic r a z at cli ve h i in “ e. io en rt n na ts isi 19 l R in ng 36 ed clu an , C de d ro d ss .


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Barbara Much of Kruger’s work engages the merging of found photographs from existing sources with pithy and aggressive text that involves the viewer in the struggle for power and control that her captions speak to. She develops her ideas on a computer, later transferring the results to often billboard - sized images. In their trademark white letters against a slash of red background, some of her instantly recognizable slogans read “Your body is a battleground.� Much of her text questions the viewer about feminism, consumerism, and individual autonomy and desire, although her black and white images are frequently culled from the mainstream magazines that sell the very ideas she is disputing. Barbara Kruger work is very powerful in my opinion even though she only usues words and an image to create her work. But you can tell Barbara time has not been making the final poster but the time behind to find the right image for the job and choice of wrds to go with it. I persume she has thought of the phrase she wants to use first and then found or created an image to go with her text. The final outcome is very strong which makes you remember it.

Kruger 19



By the age of 27 Armin Hofmann had already completed an apprenticeship in lithography and had begun teaching typography at the Basel School of Design. His colleagues and students were integral in adding to work and theories that surrounded the Swiss International Style, which stressed a belief in an absolute and universal style of graphic design. The style of design they created had a goal of communication above all else, practiced new techniques of photo typesetting, photo-montage and experimental composition and sans serif typography.


Mondrian Dutch pioneer of abstract art, who developed from early landscape pictures to geometric abstract works of a most rigorous kind. First one-man exhibition with C.R.H. Spoor and Jan Sluyters at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1909. Lived in Paris 1912-14; was influenced by Cubism, which he carried to the point of abstraction. Returned to Holland in 1914 and step by step evolved a more simplified abstract style which he called Neo-Plasticism, restricted to the three primary colours and to a grid of black vertical and horizontal lines on a white ground; associated with Van Doesbu rg in the De Stijl movement 1917-25.

I liked Mondrian style ever since i was a kid when I started to do design for the first time. His use of only using bright elegant colours and plotting them in a grid pattern has grown to adapt to any person around the world to change in there own way.




David Carson stood out a mile in comparison to other young graphic designers. Graphic design at this time went along the route of producing pictures with words to form there basis of the layout. Carson came at it from another angle he was the first person in the post postmodern era to move away totally from any form of picture text pattern, his unique style came to a head when he used pure text to create a design. His use of different typefaces and different sizes when laid down gave a whole new meaning to graphic design. Simply with out a picture reference a typeface was the lead feature of the graphic.

David Carson is an American graphic designer, art director and surfer. He is best known for his innovative magazine design, and use of experimental typography. He was the art director for the magazine Ray Gun,in which he employed much of the typographic and layout style for which he is known. In particular, his widely imitated aesthetic defined the so-called “grunge typography�era. Carson was hired by publisher Marvin Scott Jarrett to design Ray Gun, an alternative music and lifestyle magazine that debuted in 1992. In one issue, he notoriously used Dingbat, a font containing only symbols. However, the whole text was published in a legible font at the back of the same issue of Ray Gun, complete with a repeat of the asterisk motif. Ray Gun made Carson well known and attracted new admirers to his work. In this period, he was featured in publications such as The New York Times (May 1994) and Newsweek (1996).


Bauhaus I used my book to create little thumbnails basing it on one of my artists called Bauhaus. I firstly drew out some templates to base my how to create my pieces. I used Photoshop to create one piece, then used my research to create my own out of card.


Mondrian My next artist is an artist who uses black lines and colourful bright blocks. He uses many different ways to create his work. I used card to create one of my pieces then my other piece I used Illustrator to accurate make my lines.


Josef M端ller

Brockman Another artist I like is Josef Muller Brockman his abstract way of work using lines and circles create nice pieces of artwork. I used his work to create my own cut outs from my ideas which I drew before hand. I also created another piece using photoshop.


El Lissitzky My fourth artist is called El Lissitzky. I have used him as an inspiration in my making of my font. I like his work so I used many different coloured card to build up my design into my book. I also created another one on Photoshop as for me development.


Walter Dexel My next artist I looked at on my list is called Walter Dexel. His work of abstract patterns and unusual layouts, comes across weird but I like his style in how he produces his work. I used this and made many triangles in to colours and put them together in his style.


Hans Neuburg My sixth artist is Hans Neuburg I liked his simple elegant work where he uses triangles. This style I hope I can use as its quite simple and modern and this I can bring into my other magazine. With this I made some using card and illustrator.


Barbara Kruger

Another artist is called Barbara Kruger she uses phrases on top of pictures to give them hidden meanings. I used this to create one of my own containing David Guetta lyrics Work Hard Play Hard. I also used one of hers to make one out of card with letters on top.


Armin Hofmann Furthermore there is Armin Hofmann who uses lines and blocks of black and white to make ellipical pieces of work. Using this I used made a piece using black card and different thickness of lines to make it work. I also used Illustrator and made a spiral effect, then added colour.


David Carson My penultimate artist is called David Carson who is a well known up coming post modern designer. His work has influence the world in his new way of design. I like his work and hope he can continue to in fluence me and help me style my future work.


Robert Delaunay My last arist is called Robert Delaunay, his work has influence me before in the past. But now im looking at him again. As I like his use of colour and circles and how he uses and adapts them to create his work. Using that I made a card cut out version and two more on Photoshop.


NVL Artist Development  

Thomas Burgess > Modernism > Hudgraphic > Inner Artists

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