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newgraphicdesign issue 1 april 2013

form follows function. an exploration of modernism and post modernism.


new graphic design: issue 1 april 2013 - form follows function

what is modernism?

Modernism is a term used to embrace a diverse range of art movements and ideas that emerged during the first half of the 20th Century and profoundly influenced the 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

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society.The definition of modernism is simply, modern thought and practice. Modernism ranged from as early as the late 19th century and lasted til the late 20th, where post-modernism took over modernist ideals. Some things that influenced modernism were the development of the industrial revolution, the rapid growth of cities and societies, followed by the

horrors of world war I. The modernist movement also marked the emergence of avant-garde art, which was used to describe modernist art until the term “modernism� arose. Avant-garde art is works of art that are experimental, innovative and attempts to push boundaries.


his tor Art Nouveau French for “new art�, was most popular in Europe. Magazines like Jugend helped publicise the style in Germany as a graphic art form. Bieres de la Meuse by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha is a prime example of Art Nouveau. It is a piece of organic design, the bold text acting as a key indicator of the Art Nouveau style - the introduction of text within an image is something that the movement brought into Art & Design.

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1890

A timeline of Modernist Art Movements that existed in the 20th century, prime examples of the work produced in these movements and exemplary artists who helped to shape Modernism at the time.


1907

1909

ory

Cubism A movement that aimed to create new methods of representation. There was a shift in philosophy from realism/romanticism to find new ways of illustration and visualization, and cubism was the result of this. By depicting multiple viewpoints, and distorting spacial relationships, the cubist movement attempted to represent three dimensional form.

Futurism Originated in taly in 1909, and was emphasising themes that were associated with the future or ideologies about the future in those times. Common ideals depicted in futurist paintings were violence, speed, technology and industry. At the time it was a phenomenon, and although some of the paintings were bright and vibrant, Futurism had it’s dark side. It is still used as inspiration today.

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1918

Dada Most famous for it’s assemblage and ready mades. Other techniques in the Dada movement include collage and photomontage. In his Dada Manifesto, Richard Huelsenbeck said “Dada is the international expression of our times, the great rebellion of artistic movements.” It was seen as not art, but anti-art.

1919 Surrealism Evolved from the Dada movement. A lot of established artists and writers were against surrealism, as it went against traditional art forms and displayed “Anti-social” attitudes. It was influenced a great deal by psychoanalytical theories, such as those devised by Sigmund Freud. It particularly referenced his ideas about dreams and the unconscious, and from looking at surrealist paintings it is clear to see why.

1920

Bauhaus was the most influential design school to have existed in the 20th Century. It taught crafts and design but was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It’s difference in style inspired artists and designers around the world to approach their way of thinking differently. Bauhaus design is typically highlights straight edges, and smooth, slim forms.

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Amongst the Bauhaus staff and students were some of the leading pioneers of modernism, in all areas of the arts. their work has been influential throughout europe and the United States for many years. The school intended to represent a new, fresh start at the end of the horrors of world war I. They extended the thinking of leading figures in creative arts. Abstract ideals of texture, volume, form, space, colour, transparency and extention become visual motifs.

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1917 - 1931

Neo-Plasticism

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Neo-Plasticism was a very obscure type of art, yet very minimalistic. It’s composition consisted of white ground, upon which was painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and three primary colours. Mondrian notably founded De Stijl (The Style), a journal of the De Stijl Group, in which he published his first essays defining his theory, for which he used the term neoplasticism.

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e

Lissitzky is a Russian painter, typographer, architect and designer. He created a series of images which h he entitled “Prouns� which were said to be the interchange point between painting and architecture. The paintings are evidentally very construction based and geometric focused. The use of line in the work is also very prominent. He designed many posters and exhibitions for the soviet union. His work and ideas shown here contributed very much to the suprematist and constructivist movements of the early twentieth century.

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ad reinhardt

Ad Reinhardt was an american writer and painter, renowned for his abstract style paintings and minimalist approach to art, although I would argue that some of his paintings can appear quite complex in comparison to other minimalist artists. His paintings are solid toned composites of vibrant geometric shapes and collage. Most of his pieces consisted of circular and rectangular composed on small cut out paper collages. The hard edge forms of these works represent his keenness for abstract expressionism, and the geometric elements dominated by grid structures and variations of colour.

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armin van

hofmann 11


Hofmann is described as one of the most

influential personalities in Swiss graphic design history. He contributed largely to

modernism graphics and helped to shape it into what it has bedome nowadays. His

style is bold, clean and asymmetric in parts,

he strongly uses sans serif type and limited

colour schemes to create minimalistic but impactive design. Hofmann believed that poster design was the most efficient and

effective form of graphic communication. He

spent a large portion of his career designing posters . His style of design prioritized

communication above any other factor and

design choice. Techniques included in his work were often photomontage, typesetting, experimental composition and of course the heavily used sans serif fonts.

“As a human being he is simple and

unassuming. As a teacher, he has few

equals. As a practitioner, he ranks among the best. He is a rare bird, a daredevil

driver, a mountain climber, a teacher par excellence, and a guru. Yet it is difficult, really, to pin him down.� – Paul Rand

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His designs always have a particular structure within them, and a specific use of colour and typeface. He believed that his posters were not intended to be included in museums or gallery exhibitions, but to exist within our society - in the streets, cities, the public eye. I personally think that the posters create a sense of ambiguity and evoke curiosity within those who see it. He emphasizes the subjects in his designs with the intention of reducing them to their essential elements, for example the large grainy photo of the face and hands. As a modernist artist he belonged to a period of time that, in terms of design, was primarily seeking a new way to communicate visually with the ever growing society and the complex technological advances.


book r Pioneers of Modern Graphic Design: A Complete History (Aynsley, Jeremy. 2004)

This book is a perfect retrospective of designers and design movements from the 20th century, looking at artists from both modernist and post-modernist movements. It offers an insightful look at visual communication as a complex part of 20th century history, and gives prolific information on some of the most important figures in the development of modern visual language. The book is split into various sections including Design Experimentation, Late Modern and PostModern Artists, and

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Mid-Century Modern Artists. Each designer’s section begins with an overview of the designer’s life, followed by discussions and visual examples of their major influences and published works; this includes innovative poster designs, typeface creations and depending on the artist - revolutionary wartime propaganda – as this had a major impact on design in the 20th century. Anyone who is curious about modernist and post-modernist design will find themselves greatly inspired by this publication. It focuses on areas of significant artistic collectives such as the Bauhaus school, and how it intended on impacting on the design scene through maximum expression with

minimum means. The ‘Mid-century Modern’ section documents the work of around 30 designers or types of design that extended the boundaries of graphic design in the mid 20th century by devising new approaches to marketing and advertising. The book showcases their work in a way that indicates their strong set of principles about how they design and what contributes to their function. Within the book there is a complete balance between visual and written information. Aynsley reviews and documents the work of post-modern pioneers such as Muriel Cooper, Dan Friedman and Jamie Reid – artists that were strictly functional in the area of graphic design and determined to make their voices heard effectively. These


review masters of design embraced both print and digital media as an artistic means of assigning ideas and information and, as a result, managed to break free from modernist tradition. In my opinion, the book is one of the most useful publications to be produced on modern graphic design, as it contains relevant information in easy to devise sections on modernism and postmodernism.

The main theme of the book is how graphic designers played a fundamental position in contemporary society; its influence felt everywhere ranging from the poster to the web page. Design is referenced from the most influential

designers worldwide, from initial leaders of the field including Max Bill to David Carson, and innovators of digital technology such as Muriel Cooper. The book also mentions the studios and movements that had key responsibilities in the expansion of modern graphic design history. The type of design involved includes early film posters, punk rock record covers and the groundbreaking magazine covers of the 80s and 90s. Features on the key design schools such as the Bauhaus and the Cranbrook Academy of Art make this publication useful, interesting and inspiring whilst being informative and creative in its approach.

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graphic design & Post Modernism is a design movement that evolved in the mid 60’s as a critical response to the dominance and perceived sterility of Modernism. Embracing art, architecture and design. It reestablished interest in ornament, symbolism and visual wit. Unconstrained by dogma, post-modern designers rejected modernism’s obsession with

progress and challenged the fundamental tenets of order and discipline espoused by the Bauhaus. There are several characteristics which apply to art that is postmodern; these include bricolage (something constructed out of whatever materials are available), the use of typography prominently as the central artistic element, collage, simplification. Past styles and themes are often re appropriated in a modern-day attempt, and there is a decline of the barrier between fine and high arts and low art and pop culture.

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the post-modern

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international swiss style

The term international style refers to a type of design that bases its approach on legibility and simplicity of layout. They typically used bold, vibrant colours, heavy sans serif fonts and often include some aspect of geometry. The movement became extremely popular through successful work of Swiss designers in the early 1920’s but became an international style of art increasingly after the 1950’s due to it being reproduced all over the world. The movement aimed to communicate through user-friendly platforms such as posters, stamps and street signs, and because of this they had to put major consideration into their content so that it delivered the message they intended to put across. The works produced by the movement have a very well defined and specific structure,. Their minimalistic methods were about minimalizing the unecessary.

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THE ART OF THE MANIFESTO

What is a Manifesto?

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Definition – A public declaration of motives and aims, or the depiction of views of a particular artist or Art movement. It is not instructions on what to think or how to feel, more a statement to communicate the answers to people’s questions that come into contact with your art and are curious. A good manifesto will help people to appreciate your art. A manifesto should

provide the answers to the following questions: Why do you make your Art? What inspires you to make it? What does it signify or represent? What does it mean to you? I researched into three manifestos and analyzed three particular ones that I found interesting - The Suprematist Manifesto by Kazimir


Malevich, The Conditional Design Manifesto (a modern day manifesto) and the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism by Marinetti. Malevich is one of the most renowned geometric abstract painters of the 20th century. In his manifesto, entitled Suprematism Manifesto, he talks about the “supremacy” of pure feeling in creative art. He adopted the term Suprematism for his non-objective style paintings. He defines Suprematism as a way of expressing, through art, an emotionally dominated style that detracts from all other artist deliberations. The Suprematist movement arose at a time when Russia was in a revolutionary condition, and the heads of state started to limit artistic freedom. When Social Realism became policy, Malevich maintained his conceptual approach.

“To the Suprematist, the appropriate means of representation is always the one which gives fullest possible expression to feeling as such and which ignores the familiar appearance of objects.” If we consider how Malevich’s paintings are limited to simple primary colour schemes and an assortment of geometric shapes, it is clear to see why he claimed to have reached the height of abstract art through method of rejecting objective representation. His conceptual approach leads us to see a mass of vibrant, expressive shapes, which to us may seem in disarray, but to his expressive eye it means something entirely different - something significant. This being said, I believe that there is some objective representation in his work. It is true that Malevich was interested in aviation (the design of aircraft) and fascinated with aerial view photography. If we look at paintings done by Malevich such as the Suprematist Composition (1916), there is a definite resemblance between this painting and

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an aerial view of an industrial area with different buildings intercepting, and other shapes dotted around the composition. However I do believe that some of his Suprematist paintings are devoid of reality, such as Black Square (1915) and White On White (1918). The minimalist approaches of the paintings do not suggest reality in any obvious manner.

“Everything which determined the objective ideal structure of life and of “art’ ideas, concepts, and images all this the artist has cast aside in order to heed pure feeling.” This quote I find particularly interesting, because Malevich was a Cubist painter before becoming the founder of Suprematism. Cubism was very much influenced by nature, but once evolving into a Suprematist, he was able to depict images that were of no relation to reality at all. There is no particular theme in these works, Malevich simply talks of how it reflects “the pure feeling of creative art” and the means of materializing these feelings through a realistic method, i.e. painting. Malevich summed up the rules of Suprematism in this manifesto, by stating that one cannot use art to produce feelings if the art is based on something that exists in real life. Only principal forms such as Malevich’s paintings can produce feelings. I myself disagree with this statement. Although I do admire Malevich’s work, I cannot see how other such paintings that represent real life cannot evoke feelings. Paintings of subjects can induce surges of creativity; it could inspire or confuse, or impart memories. Malevich also painted portraits

and many other subjective paintings, such as The Reaper on Red (1913) before establishing Suprematism, so to disregard his previous work is quite profound.

“The new art of Suprematism, which has produced new forms and form relationships by giving external expression to pictorial feeling, will become a new architecture: it will transfer these forms from the surface of canvas to space.” This prediction is certainly an interesting one; although Malevich states that it will happen, it gives indication to what his aspirations are, which gives the manifesto a more personal element. In 1926, Lazar Khidekel, a Russian artist and architect belonging to the Avant-garde movement, created the first Suprematist Architectural project. This shows that Malevich’s ambitions of Suprematism moving forms became reality. Malevich ends his manifesto by saying how Suprematism has opened up new possibilities to create art. I found this manifesto quite interesting, because although he justifies the Suprematist movement he also talks about his aims and aspirations.


Conditional Design – A Manifesto for Artists and Designers (2008) I wanted to analyze manifesto that was completely different to the initial one; this manifesto being contemporary and personal to the people involved in it, whereas Malevich’s Suprematist Manifesto was more profound and. Conditional Design is a Design collective based in Amsterdam which consists of four designers. They have been collaborating together on projects since 2008. The manifesto begins with a short paragraph explaining how media and technology, and the speed of which data travels influences design today.

“Through the influence of the media and technology on our world, our lives are increasingly characterized by speed and constant change. We live in a dynamic, datadriven society that is continually sparking new forms of human interaction and social contexts. Instead of romanticizing the past, we want to adapt our way of working to coincide with these developments, and we want our work to reflect the here and now. We want to embrace the complexity of this landscape, deliver insight into it and show both its beauty and its shortcomings.” This introduction I find really interesting because it depicts an entirely different context to that of 1920s Russia when the Suprematist Manifesto was written, where the Artist’s concerns were expression and feeling represented within paintings, but now the interests are branded by the continuous flux of technological advances. The collective shows their contemporary values when stating their aim for their work to reflect the here and now.


“Our work focuses on processes rather than products: things that adapt to their environment, emphasize change and show difference.” This statement goes against the idea of “style over substance” that French philosopher Baudrillard argued defines our society today. Instead of focusing on the outcome of their designs, they put more into how they process the design. The visual appearance of the design does not matter as much to them as the innovative procedure used to make the design. This also contrasts with Malevich’s ideas in his manifesto, where he is greatly concerned with the style and how the shapes appear in his work and how they represent expression. Malevich’s work is much more dedicated to the meaning behind the imagery, whereas Conditional Design’s work corresponds more with technique.

“Instead of operating under the terms of Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Media Art or Sound Design, we want to introduce Conditional Design as a term that refers to our approach rather than our chosen media. We conduct our activities using the methods of philosophers, engineers, inventors and mystics.” I find this particular section of their manifesto fascinating because here they have mentioned how they introduced Conditional Design as a type of art, which consists of approach rather than material. This almost parallels with what Malevich did in his manifesto; although his aims and intentions were very different, he himself tried to integrate a new form of art (Suprematism) into society.

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Having looked at some manifestos, I have now written my own; it includes how I work and my aims that I wish to achieve through my work. After analyzing various manifestos and creating my own, we researched into some of the things that define a manifesto as a way of improving ours. Elements that are required in a manifesto are a statement of intent, the laying out of goals, allusiveness, suggestions, declarative, setting out what wants to be achieved, ideals, beliefs, individuality, ideologies, output, how you engage with the world, philosophy, inspiration, rules and what rules are aspired to, why’s and wherefores, opinions, motives, artistic context, ethos and characteristic of culture. We then listened to the manifesto ‘I am for an art’ written by Claes Oldenberg and went on to write our own shorter version, inspired by the work of Oldenberg. I included ten aspirations in mine. “I am for a design that allows me to be as creative as possible.

I am for a design that will teach me new things. I am for a design that give me entirely new experiences. I am for a design that will give me the oppurtunity to travel. I am for a design that will prepare me for the working world. I am for a design that informs a new way of thinking. I am for a design that improves people’s way of seeing. I am for a design that will communicate innovative ideas. I am for a design that will inspire. I am for a design that will give me a sense of pride.”

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new graphic design issue 1 april 2013


New Graphic Design Publication