20th Century Design significant designers / Movements & Styles

  • Date given, Week 2 -Term 1 -2017
  • Date due, Week 9 -Term 1 - 2017
Critical and Historical Studies

Theoretical content in the design course is delivered along the same lines as in Visual Art. The three core areas of study are Practice, Conceptual Framework and Frames. ‘Practice’ involves the core issues that a designer, design studio or design movement engages in. ‘Conceptual Framework’ looks at the relationships between the designed object, designer, consumer and the world. ‘Frames’ investigate the designed object from a number of perspectives not dissimilar from those found in the Visual Art syllabus.

The design world is an engaging and intense area of study and to that end the theoretical content of the course is quite proscriptive. The reason for this is that the core course focus is centered around making and as the process of creating work is quite an intense one, adequate time needs to be allocated. The intent of the theoretical strands of both the Preliminary and HSC courses is to support both your understanding of aesthetics and practice. Critical and Historical studies will take the form of structured overviews so that you have a contextual understanding of the role of the design process, design movements and key designers. Everything that we as human beings use, wear, live in etc has passed through the hands of a designer. Outside of the natural world the hand and eye of the designer has arguably been solely responsible for the creation of the utilitarian / habitable world.

The term ‘design’ relates to a number of processes applied in the process of creating something that does not yet exist. It can also be applied to processes followed to improve the state (either functional / aesthetic) of something already existing. We generally find the word as an adjunct and not existing alone.

Early usage;

Joseph Claude Sinel coined the term “industrial design” in 1919

William Addison Dwiggins coined the term “graphic design” in 1922

Some examples of applied areas of design

  • information design
  • automotive design
  • emotional design
  • interactive design
  • environmental design
  • urban design
  • product design
  • packaging design
  • sensory design
  • sustainable design
  • interior design
  • fashion design
  • communication design
  • character design
  • sound design and
  • game design.
Key Figures in 20th Century Design

Early 1900's

  • Otto Wagner
  • Carlo Bugatti
  • Henry Van Der Velde
  • Hector Guimard
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh
  • Peter Behrens
  • Joseph Hoffmann
  • Wiener Werkstätte


  • Eileen Gray
  • Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann
  • Syrie Maugham
  • Josef Frank
  • Donald Desky
  • Kaare Klint
  • Gordon Russell
  • Alvar Aalto
  • Brent Wood

Progressive Modernism

  • Walter Gropius
  • Bauhaus
  • Mies Van Der Rohe
  • Le Corbusier & Charlotte Perriand
  • Gerrit Rietveld
  • El Lissitzky
  • Alexander Rodchenko
  • Marrianne Brandt
  • Marcel Breuer
  • Giuseppe Terragni
  • Walter Teague

Design Movements / Styles

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Art Noveau
  • Vienna Secession
  • Deutscher Werkbund
  • Futurism
  • Dada
  • Constructivism
  • DeStijl
  • Bauhaus
  • International Style
  • Art Deco
Research Task

Choose a designer or design movement / style from either of the categories listed above and in no more than 2000 of your own words;

For a designer

  • Document significant achievements and or contribution to their field of design. (Conceptual Framework)
  • Provide background information i.e a brief personal history, significant influences and where relevant the legacy of the designer's influence. (Cultural Frame)
  • Identify and provide documentation ( design field) of significant works. (Conceptual Framework)
  • Identify the key visual characteristics of the designer's work (Structural Frame)

For a design movement / style

  • Provide an historical overview of the origin of the movement / style (Cultural Frame)
  • Name the movement's / styles significant designers. (Conceptual Framework)
  • Identify and discuss the key ideological and stylistic characteristics of the movement / style. (Structural and Cultural Frame)
  • Discuss the visual qualities of products that are characteristic of the movement / style. (Structural Frame)

Your response to this research task can be submitted as either;

  • Hard copy
  • Digital or otherwise
  • An Adobe Spark presentation.
Outcomes assessed CH1-CH2-CH3-CH4
Assessment Grid
Created By
Gary Poulton

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