Graphic Design: Timelines

Timeline 1: Works of the First Half of the 20th Century

Trends of the Period

The first half of the 20th century is called the Modernist Era. Being an important period in the history of graphic design, modernism had a number of important trends which made it one of the most interesting and influential periods. The following trends have to be mentioned:

1. Functionality: the vast majority of artists truly believe that the form of the work should be determined by function (Meggs and Purvis 238), this is why it was necessary to consider the space and its possible impact on the image.

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2. Simplicity of fonts: people should get a chance to perceive information on a proper level, and the idea to search for simplicity became the best option to rely on (Arntson 46).

3. Loss of integral subject: Barnard defines it as the condition when “individuals are no longer consistent or in harmony with themselves rather they are presented as divided, riven by inner conflict” (113).

4. Montage: the idea to use the already created works and improve them by means of current technologies.

5. Illusion of paradox: it means beyond someone’s belief (Barnard 113); the technique that develops the sense of absurd in the artwork.

The above-mentioned trends may be properly observed and understood in the works of famous designers and artists. Though the same criteria were set as well as the same technologies and material were offered, each creator made personal improvements to underline the uniqueness of his/her work. The works described below were created during the Modernist Era between 1908 and 1950.

Works and Designers

Bellows, George. Black House. 1924. Museum Quality: Oil Paintings Reproductions. 8 March, 2011,

George Bellows was the representative of American realism. He was born in Ohio, still, the vast majority of his works were devoted to and created in New York. In spite of his talents in sports, his true love was art, and he found it necessary to develop his skills in art. His Black House is a perfect example of functionality trend.


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