As a designer, I follow a modernist approach – form and function, design by subtraction, less is more. My design style is typically described as classic, modernist, “clean” or Swiss modern. I’m okay with that. Simplicity and directness underline the way that I work. In my view, trusting what feels right leads to effective design solutions. The world of graphic design is a myriad of styles – from futuristic to retro, from high street commercialism to underground cool. I have never set out to create a style. I work with clients to design solutions that meet their objectives and reflect their persona while also meeting my standards for quality design. To be clear, while I’m a modernist in terms of my approach, I’m an admirer of many styles of design, art and architecture. I believe that no one style is superior to another. The richness of our world depends on the contrast of styles from a broad range of cultures, times, perspectives and influences. What matters most is not which style one prefers, but to apply a style to the solution with an appropriate context and execute to the highest level.
Knoll poster, Herbert Matter / Poster, Herman Miller Collection 1962, Armin Hofmann / LCW Chair, Charles and Ray Eames
Modernism is both a philosophical movement and an art movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, along with devastations of World War I.
Modernism is not a system of design – it is a state of mind. Some designers define modernism as a mode of thinking – one or more philosophically defined characteristics, like self-consciousness, that run across all the novelties in the arts and the disciplines. More common, especially in the West, are those who see it as a socially progressive trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve and reshape their environment with the aid of practical experimentation, scientific knowledge, or technology. From this perspective, modernism encourages the re-examination of every aspect of existence, from commerce to philosophy, with the goal of finding that which was ‘holding back’ progress, and replacing it with new ways of reaching the same end. Others focus on modernism as an aesthetic introspection.
Modernism, in general, includes the activities and creations of those who felt the traditional forms of art, architecture, literature, religion, philosophy, social organization, activities of daily life, and sciences, were becoming ill-fitted to their tasks and outdated in the new economic, social, and political environment of an emerging fully industrialized world. The poet Ezra Pound’s 1934 injunction to “Make it new!” was the touchstone of the movement’s approach towards what it saw as the now obsolete culture of the past. In this spirit, its innovations, like the stream-of-consciousness novel and abstract art, all had precursors in the 19th century.