Movements and Styles After Modernism

Hi everyone! We have one more Design History article, talking about the postmodern movements. Many things happened in the art world after the second war. See the most important movements that are still reference for designers.

The International Style

About 1950, in Switzerland, a new style came out, very clean, objective, neutral, using sans serif type, known as the International Style or Swiss Style. It was based on the idea that type should be neutral and not a distraction from the content. Its concepts expanded to other arts, like architecture, product and graphic design, becoming a world-wide style.
International Style1
International Style2
International Style3

Pop Art

The Pop Art movement challenged tradition, joining the popular culture with fine art. Born about 1950-1960, the Pop Art is considered one of the earliest postmodernist arts. The most known Pop Art artists in the US were Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Pop art1
Pop art2
Pop art3


Starting about 1976, the punk movement was a rebellion against traditional values, affecting different areas, from music to fashion, art and design. In fashion, it was market by intense make ups, bold hairstyles and aggressive, torn, cut, mutilated clothing.

Post Modern Architecture

The postmodernist architectural movement emerged in 1960, as a response to the International Style. It brought back the ornaments, colors, masses and texture, against the formality of the International Style. In modernism, these characteristics were seen as unnecessary, not functional and expensive.

New Wave

Wolfgang Weingart, considered the father of New Wave typography, made experiments with type, based on a huge knowledge of the functions on typography. He says that he started Swiss Typography and “destroyed” this concept, creating something new, but without the intention of creating a new style. His students were the ones to understand his ideas and spread the “Weingart style”. Among his students, the ones that most stood out were April Greiman and Dan Friedman.
Wolfgang Weingart2
Wolfgang Weingart3
April Greiman1
April Greiman2
Dan Friedman
Dan Friedman2

Deconstruction in Literature

The French philosopher Jacques Derrida proposed the Deconstruction, as a method of analyzing literature, highly philosophical, which covers the different layers of meaning. On its approach, the text has contradictory meanings and different interpretations, showing that the language is constantly changing.

Deconstructed Typography

The deconstructivism is characterized by fragmentation, layering, non-linear shapes, distortion and dislocation. The movement initialized with Derrida’s studies had also a great importance for postmodern architecture.
References and further information:

  • Design History

As you could see there were many important artistic movements since 1950 – each one with its characteristics and importance. I can say that one of my favorites is the Swiss International Style, so clean, objective and elegant. I guess, although, for most people the “deary” is the Pop Art. What’s your favorite one?

7 thoughts on “Movements and Styles After Modernism”

  1. Pop art would have to be my favorite art movement from the 1950s onwards, I am a big fan of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons. I still think you get pop art today in the form of Banksy and Damien Hirst. I have been looking forward to visiting the pop life exhibition at the Tate Modern. I just need to find the time to take off work to go and visit it!

  2. I like the design of all the buildings, especially the last one. It’s very unique! I also love Punk designs. I don’t know, I just like the matching of colors plus the effect of the whole design (just like 3D).

  3. This is a great post. I am still a big fan of the Swiss Style when it comes to typography and layout. I think it is nice to get creative with the deconstruction of type and this also creates some very impressive graphics for titles and poster style designs but when it comes to mass amounts of type the Swiss Style has got to be a winner for me. Thank you for sharing, I learned some stuff to which is always good.

  4. Both post modern architecture and deconstructed typography have great designs. The uniqueness of the designs in deconstructed typography give a different inspiration to architects of today.

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