Historical Context

In the history of art, there have been continuous changes and developments that have led us to the design practices we know and love in today’s society. Art movements can be described as a ‘period when popular art shares similar styles.’ Throughout the 20th century, these are a few of the most influential design practices. 

The Bauhaus Movement

Image source: Artfull Posters

The Bauhaus movement was originated in Weimar, Germany and founded in the early 20th century by Walter Gropius. The movement incorporates its own modern art approach, in conjunction with architecture and design. The main point of focus for Bauhaus (for all its design types) ensures a ‘balanced formation and a selection of geometric shapes to create their unique take on modern art. 

“The ultimate, if distant, aim of the Bauhaus is the unified work of art – the great structure – in which there is no distinction between monumental and decorative art.” 

Walter Gropius

The Bauhaus movement provides the idea of minimalism and functionality, which is still seen as an important part of art in today’s society of designers. Bauhaus teaches us to go back to basics and follows the phrase ‘Form follows function’ which was discussed by a young architect Louis Sullivan. Bauhaus requires the designer to utilise these ideas and is taught that the purpose of what you are creating should be the starting point for all design. 

Image source: dezeen

Bauhaus – the school of design and architecture was prominent from 1919 to 1933. Through this period the works that were created are still shown and researched today, with nearly 1,300 students attending over the movement period. 

Staatliches Bauhaus Ausstellung (1923)

An example of a design from the Bauhaus movement would be a poster design (Staatliches Bauhaus Ausstellung)  by Joost Schmidt in 1923. Joost Schmidt was a German typographer, graphic designer and teacher. This artist is known for his experimentative use of lettering and his teaching principles.  The design was created for a Bauhaus exhibition.

Image source: MutualArt

The poster was one of the first developed with the “new typography” Schmidt, as a typographer, experimented one his exhibition designs using avant-garde typesetting. Schmidt’s main inspiration for the poster was to include the main art principles that Bauhaus practised.

Image source: Artsy

This was the first poster to demonstrate the characteristics of new typography. Its use of lines, geometric shapes and simplicity, but allows the viewer to imagine a sense of hierarchy of type and design. Contrasts of the piece are evident and create a formation of two sides joining together. 

Postmodernism (grunge) 

Postmodernism was a style movement of the last 20th century, created by Jacques Derrida, a literary theorist. The style arrived quite literally ‘post‘ the modernism movement. The ‘arts’ find this a difficult part of the design to define as it has a range of different art forms that make up the movement. The digital world can be seen as one of the biggest influencers of this design practice, which has to do with being a part of the later 1990s. Grunge is one of the styles used in postmodernism and is connected to its musical history. This style can be described through discoloured photography, collages and distressed typeface. 

 “The machine, on the contrary, is destined to repetition. It is destined, that is, to reproduce impassively, imperceptibly, without organ or organicity, received commands.”

Jacques Derrida

(Untitled) Your Body is Battleground (1989)

This design was created by Barbara Kruger in 1989. The art piece is a perfect example of postmodernism. The iconic artwork was first created as a visual way to present political issues at the time. Kruger, an artist, activist and feminist, created this design for the Women’s March on Washington – This connects to a rise of anti-abortion laws.

Image source: Artland
Image source: Artsy

The design uses a Futura Bold typeface and although the images are shown greyscale and greyscale inverted, the red text boxes provide the sense of importance and boldness of getting the message across. The images used are from the 1950s and all of her prints were used as public art, creating a new way of advertising and uniquely delivering these meaningful issues.

Personal Conclusions

Throughout my research, I definitely was surprised by the popularity of the Bauhaus movement. When discovering the movement, a significant selection of designers came to my attention. The age of the movement was understandable, I found that the design pieces have become timeless and it is still shown, and utilised in design practices today. This also can be recognised in Postmodernism (grunge). I personally prefer the Bauhaus style over postmodernism (grunge), my personal style reflects more organisation where I find that the ‘grunge’ style can be quite scattered and random.

Reference list

Art 2019, 10 Bauhaus principles that still apply today,.ART.

Brainy Quote & Gropius, W n.d., Walter Gropius Quotes, BrainyQuote, viewed 15 June 2022, <;.

Butler, AB 2019, Art Movements: Definition & Timeline |,

Doyle, AJ 2019, Design History: Postmodernism (grunge), Josephine Doyle, viewed 15 June 2022, <;.

Form Follows Function n.d., The Guggenheim Museums and Foundation.

Griffith Winton, A 2007, The Bauhaus, 1919–1933, 2018, The History of ‘Your Body Is A Battleground’ | JSTOR Daily, JSTOR Daily.

Joost Schmidt | STAATLICHES BAUHAUS AUSSTELLUNG (1923) | MutualArt n.d.,, viewed 15 June 2022, <;.

Kidadl Team 2021, 31+ Jacques Derrida Quotes From The Postmodern Philosopher,, viewed 15 June 2022, <;.

Lee, P 2016, Bauhaus Artists – Geniuses of Art and Design | Widewalls,

Silka P 2016, We All Know the Style, but Is There a Grunge Art? | Widewalls,

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (ed.) 2019, List of art and design movements of the 20th century, Encyclopædia Britannica.

Velimirović, 2016, Joost Schmidt | Widewalls,

Wilshere, A 2016, Bauhaus School: Five Lessons For Today’s Designers | Blog,

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