Design History Timeline

Swiss Style 1950s

the Swiss International Style was born in the late 1940s, the second world war had finally come to an end. Posters was an effective mean of communication. There was a need for a new objective style. A way to spread important information between components in the society without influences of propaganda or commercial advertising. The main goal with the Swiss International Design Style was to communicate. Communicating trough simplicity, legibility and objectivity. Big, bold sans-serif letters, photo-montages (often black and white), mathematical grid systems and asymmetrical layouts. This era laid down the foundation for poster design and what graphic design is today. The Swiss style was led by designers Josef Müller-Brockmann at the Zurich School of Arts and Krafts and Armin Hofmann at the Basel School of Design.

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Pop Art 1950s - 1970s

Pop Art started in the 1950s with a group of New York artists. Through their background in the commercial art they created a new internatinal phenomenon. Andy Warhol was the most successful and highly paid commercial illustrator in New York even before he began to make art destined for galleries. Nevertheless, his screenprinted images of Marilyn Monroe, soup cans, and sensational newspaper stories, quickly became synonymous with Pop art. The stye is recognized through the combination of simple everyday images, cartoons and vibrant colors.

Psycadelic Movement 1960s-1970s

The name “psychedelic” refers to the drugs that were popular with the culture of the era. Posters for rock concerts tried to visually express the feeling of tripping out. Richly saturated colors in glaring contrast, ornament lettering, symmetrical composition, collage elements, rubber-like distortions, and bizarre compositions are all hallmarks of the psychedelic art style. Americans in the 1960s and 70s addressed many controversial issues, civil rights, the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, and the environment to drug use and sexual freedom. Many people sought spiritual experiences through Eastern Mysticism and psychedelic drugs.
A known artist from the era is Victor Moscoso, famous for his psycadelic rock posters and underground comix. Victor studied art at Cooper Union in New York and at Yale University. Later he moved to San Francisco and attanded at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Graffiti/Streetart 1970s

Wall paintings can be traced all the way back to the Stone Age and the ancient greece, modern Graffiti and Street Art as we know it started in the 1970s. Most graffiti and street art is considered illeagal but 1977 to 1980 marks the point in graffiti history when the legendary Jean-Michel Basquiat first came to the public attention with his SAMO pieces. Many great Graffiti and Street Artist have followed. Blade, Seen and Banksy, to name a few. Spray-cans, stencils and markers are some of the most popular tools among street artists and graffiti writers.

New Wave/Punk 1970s-1980s

New Wave is a break or a natural progression of the Swiss Style.
The style is recognized by inconsistent letter spacing, different weights and type set to non-right angles. A famous artist from the New Wave era is Wolfgang Weingart, teacher at the Schule für Gestaltung Basel. He is known for his exploration in typographic. Wolfgang and his students created a more experimental and expressive approch to typography.
During the same time the "Punk phenomen" was evolving. Punk art, band poster designs with shocking color combinations, collages with cut out letters. The main goal with Punk Art is to disturb and disrupt the normal society.