During the first two decades of the twentieth century, many new concepts were developed such as cubism, futurism, Dada, surrealism, and expressionism.
These concepts were able to provided insights and processes which still influences graphic designers, illustrators, and artists today. Cubists figures were abstracted into geometric planes ,and the traditional norms of the human figure are broken. Everything are shifted into two-dimensional planes, and sometimes, figures were seen in more than one viewpoint. From analytical cubism, the main subject matter were the relationship between shapes, colours, textures, and values.The futurists paintings were influenced by cubism as they attempted to express motion, energy and cinematic sequence in their work. As for Dada, the Dada movement was reacting against WW1 and claimed to be anti-art with its strong negativity and destructive elements. Artists and writers were concerned with shock, protest, and nonsense as a form of rebellion. While Dada was destructive and negative, surrealism was poetic. Surrealism’s impact pioneered new techniques and demonstrated how fantasy and intuition could be expressed in visual terms. Expressionism was where subjective emotions and personal responses to subjects and event were expressed. Expressionism influenced graphic illustration and poster with its subject matter and technique of exaggerated or distorted proportion and symbolic content.
By the turn of the new century, German artist, architecture, and design Peter Behrens played a major role in the century’s design. He has been called the “first Industrial designer where he designed manufactured products such as streetlamps and teapots. Brehen’s design concept was based on Sachlichkeit, which translate to commonsense objectivity. This is where designs were focused on the practicality, purpose and function of the product instead of the artistic style. Designers during this time had a philosophy where a new universal culture exist in a total reformed man-made environment called Gesamtkultur. Brehen also introduced the interchangeable component system with his teakettle design where it had many forms such as three basic kettle forms, two lids, two handles and two bases. His work during the century had crystallized advanced thinking about design.Underground publicity with posters evolved during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s with its first underground electric railway system opened in London. Posters during the time encouraged activities such as going to theaters, zoo, parks and the countryside, and they were the beginning of mass-media modernism.
As the quality of book design and production declined during the nineteenth century, a few publishers decided to regain the beauty of book design that it had before. One of the publishers was William Pickering and he play an important role in the separation of graphic design from printing production. Working in collabration with Charles Whittingham, Pickering was able to produce quality works for Whittingham`s excellent craftsmanship complemented Pickering`s demands for quality. However, book design still continued to declined during the late nineteenth century until the book-design renaissance began, which is the revival of books where they were treated as a piece of art. This influenced the Arts and Crafts movement where it was led by William Morris.
During the two decades of 1890 to 1910, an international decorative style was developed called Art Nouveau. It was greatly influenced by the Japanese’s art movement Ukiyo-e. Art Noueauv dominated design for the most of the nineteenth century with its organic linear movements, colour and texture. Artist Alphnose Mucha developed Art Nouveau’s graphic motifs with his dominant theme of central female figures surrounded by decorative forms such as plants and flowers, Moravian folk art, and Byzantine mosaics. Art Nouveau’s legacy is still continued with designers adopting its surface appearance, and its attitudes toward materials, processes, and value.
As Art Nouveau came to an end with the turn of the twentieth century, designers searched for new forms of expression in architecture, fashion, graphic, and product design. The Four, which consists of Charles Rennie Mackintosh,, J. Herbert McNair, and sisters Margaret and Frances Macdonald developed a unique style of lyrical originality and symbolic complexity in design, which inspired many designers and illustrators at the time. By the time of 1837 in Austria, young members of the Viennese Creative Artist’s Association resigned in protest and a clash between tradition and new ideas emerged in France, England and Germany. The Vienna Secession became a countermovement to Art Nouveau that flourished in parts of Europe.
During the time of Industrial Revolution, between 1760 and 1840, the inventions of steam power and the rapid development of technology greatly influenced graphic design at the time. Handicrafts were greatly dimisnheds and with the factory systems, graphic communications were into design and production components. Also, there was an increase of range in typographic sizes and letterform styles. The Industrial Revolution was proved to be an inventive and prolific time for new typeface designs. It is also during this time photography and lithography was invented. During the Victorian era, strong moral and religious beliefs were applied into designs and expressed using the traditional values of home, religion, and patriotism. The Victorian era also changed people`s view on children. Instead of treating as little adults, they were treated with a more tender attitude and thus the demand for colourful children`s book increased. Also, this is the time where American editorial and advertising design start to rise. Victorian designs still influences today`s design which can still be found today especially in commercial promotion.
Printing came to Europe as the middle class emerged which expanded universities and increased the demand for books. Early European block printings is used to communicate the function of devotional prints of saints with simplified illustration style. Movable types was brought to Europe by Johann Gensfleisch zum Gutenberg around 1450. Around the same time, an unidentified artist called the Master of Playing Card created the earliest known copperplate engravings.As decades passed about after 1460, typographic printers increased their use of woodblock illustrations which also increases the demand for blocks and the statue of graphic illustrators. German printers and graphic artists established a national tradition of illustrated book and spread the new medium of communication throughout Europe and even to the New World.During the Renaissance, type design, page layout, ornaments, illustration, and the total design of the book were rethought by Italian printers and scholars with is prototype roman alphabet designs of Sweynheym and Pannartz and the coarse decorative borders of early French books. The new approach to book design started in Venice and continued during the last three decades of the fifteenth century. In 1640, a royal printing office was established to restore quality and new typefaces were created such as Romain du Roi which was the dominant typographic influence.