Design After Modernism

After the success of the Swiss International Typographic Style and the theories of modernism as it applied to architecture and art many artists and designers looked for new ways to express themselves and their ideas. Many of the design approaches that gained popularity in the 1980s were developed in a direct revolution against the ideas of the cleanliness, legibility and rationality of modernism. The term Post Modernism is often used as a broad term that encompasses many movements and design aesthetics of the late 20th century. However it is a term that developed as an approach to and is most applicable to architecture. That being said, the theories of postmodernism, deconstruction and poststructuralism found their way into graphic design during this time through the works of a variety of designers.

The introduction and success of the personal computer allowed for designers to take the clean design of modernism, destroy it and reassemble it in a new visual language. Most associated with the ideas of deconstruction was the designer David Carson whose work for the magazines Ray Gun and Beach Culture helped develop the aesthetic commonly referred to simply as deconstruction. Wolfgang Weingart's approach to typography and design was being carried on by April Greiman and labeled as New Wave. Emigre exploded onto the scene in 1984 with a host of new approaches to, and uses for, typography. All while students from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, such as Ed Fella and Andrew Blauvelt were allowed the freedom to explore and develop these, and many other design aesthetics.

David Carson  

Ed Fella  

April Greiman  

Neville Brody