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Modernism was not conceived as a style but a loose collection of ideas. It was a term that covered a range of movements in art, architecture, design, and literature, which largely rejected the styles that came before it. It emerged in the early 20th century as a response to the time’s social, political, and technological changes. It was a time of great innovation and experimentation, which was reflected in the design field. Modernism in design is characterized by a number of key features, which we will explore in this blog.


Modernism is often associated with the principle of “form follows function.” This means that the design of an object should be based on its intended purpose rather than on aesthetic considerations alone. This focus on functionality led to the creation of many new and innovative designs, particularly in the fields of furniture and industrial design.

Dutch designer Daan Mulder has created the ‘Form Follows Function’ sofa.


Modernist design is often characterized by its simplicity and minimalism. This is reflected in the use of clean, geometric shapes and a limited color palette. This simplicity was seen as a way to reduce clutter and create a sense of order and harmony.

Technology & Innovation

Peter Halley, *Here and Now,* 2018.
Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.

The development of new technologies, particularly in the areas of manufacturing and transportation, had a significant impact on modernist design. Modernists were interested in exploring the possibilities of new materials such as steel, glass, and concrete and manufacturing techniques. Modernism was a time of great innovation, which was reflected in the design field. Modernists were interested in exploring new ideas and techniques, and this led to the creation of many new and innovative designs.


Modernism is also associated with the use of abstraction in design. This can be seen in the use of simple shapes, such as circles and squares, and in the use of abstract patterns and motifs.

Robert Delaunay, 1912–13, Le Premier Disque, 134 cm (52.7 in.), private collection

Geometric Shapes

Modernism often employed geometric shapes, such as squares, circles, and triangles, in its designs. These shapes were seen as more modern and innovative than organic shapes.

Robert Morris, Untitled 1965, reconstructed 1971.
Image courtesy of Tate © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020

Clean Lines

Modernism emphasized clean lines in its designs. These lines were often straight and angular and were used to create a sense of order and clarity.

Gene Davis, Apricot Ripple, 1968.

Peter Halley, *Here and Now,* 2018.
Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.

Bold Colors

Modernism often used bold colors in its designs. These colors were intended to create a sense of energy and excitement and to stand out in a world of muted tones and earthy hues.

In conclusion, modernism has significantly impacted art, design, and culture over the past century. Its emphasis on simplicity, functionality, and rationality has shaped how we think about aesthetics and design. From the Bauhaus movement to the International Style, modernism has left an indelible mark on architecture and design. Its principles continue to influence contemporary trends in fashion, graphic design, and product design.

At our design studio, we pride ourselves on our deep understanding of modernism and its ongoing influence on design. Our team of experts is well-versed in the principles of modernism and can help you create visually stunning and highly functional designs. Whether you’re looking to develop a product or revamp an existing product, our team has the expertise and creativity to bring your vision to life.

So if you’re looking to collaborate with a design studio that understands the importance of modernism in design, we encourage you to contact us today. Our team is eager to work with you and help you achieve your design goals. Let’s create something beautiful together!

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