Brainpickings – Design in a Nutshell

I recently saw an article on the website Brainpickings which included one-minute animated primers, created by Open University, on six major creative movements. I was interested to watch the short clips to learn about some of the most important movements in design history. From Gothic Revival to Postmodernism, to how Bauhaus ushered in the age of minimalism.

1 – Gothic Revival

Gothic Revival introduced many of the ideas that changed architecture, including the stunning arched ceilings of European cathedrals. Without this time, Lewis Carroll may never have created Alice in Wonderland that we all love today.

2 – Arts and Crafts

The Arts and Crafts movement emerged to rebel against the negative impact of mass-production and the Industrial Revolution. William Morris played a large role in the movement; he liked to see craftsmanship in the things that were made and sold and championed underappreciated workers and crafts people. The philosophy is still present today; we still care are about how and why something is made.

3 – Bauhaus

Bauhaus is one of the 100 ideas that changed graphic design. This movement revolutionised design education by introducing a cross-disciplinary curriculum and embraced the intersection of innovation and inspiration.

4 – Modernism

Modernism emerged from a disillusionment with history after the World War. Modernists wanted to reinterpret history. This spanned every corner of creative expression, from art (Agnes Martin) to music (John Cage) to design (Charles and Ray Eames). It also became the single most influential creative movement of the 20th century. Tables and chair, graphic design, House music, house wear were all created by the developments of modernism.

5 – American Industrial Design

After The Great Depression stopped consumer demand, American industrial design set to out to rebuild the future world and reignite people’s appreciation for objects. This was done by making things that previously didn’t need to appear attractive become sleek and desirable. The movement focused on getting an effective balance between form and function.

6 – Postmodernism

Postmodernism was a movement that criticised modernism for having failed at reinvigorating society. Therefore, it had the aim of transforming culture politically, philosophically, and creatively and also pushed society to question why things are the way they are.

I really liked the one-minute length of the animations; they were engaging, short and sharp and to the point. The videos themselves were very well designed and made it so much easier for me to take in the information being shown and shared.


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