Modernism, a cultural movement that emerged in the late 1800s, has had a profound impact on various aspects of society, including art, literature, and design. As a freelance digital designer specialising in modernist logo design, it’s essential to understand the history of modernism and how it has shaped the world of design.
Freelance Web Designer Harrogate - logo design blog in harrogate north yorkshire

The Beginnings of Modernism

Modernism arose out of a rebellious mood at the beginning of the twentieth century, driven by a desire to revitalise the way modern civilisation viewed life, art, politics, and science. The movement was a response to the rapid industrialisation and the perceived moral bankruptcy of European culture, which was seen as too corrupt, complacent, and bound by artificialities.

Modernist thinkers and artists sought inspiration from primitive cultures, embracing freedom and simplicity of form. This led to the rejection of 19th-century artistic conventions and the exploration of new artistic forms and emotions. The period between 1900 and 1930 marked the height of modernism, with its influences still felt today.

Modernism in Art and Literature

Modernist art emphasised abstraction, with new styles of painting, photography, sculpture, and poetry emerging. In literature, modernism was characterised by the use of techniques such as stream of consciousness, free indirect speech, and unreliable narrators. Writers experimented with different styles, fragmentation, and symbolism, often reflecting the emotional numbness and detachment from society that was prevalent during this time.

The First World War played a significant role in the development of modernist literature, as it exposed the harsh realities of modernisation and capitalism. This led to a re-examination of all aspects of existence and a rejection of traditional forms in favour of new ways to create meaning.

Modernism and Logo Design

The principles of modernism have had a lasting impact on the world of design, including logo design. Modernist design is characterised by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, with a focus on clean lines, geometric shapes, and the use of negative space. This approach to design can be seen in many iconic logos, such as the IBM logo, the Apple logo, and the Nike swoosh.

As a modernist logo designer, it’s essential to understand the history and principles of modernism to create logos that embody the spirit of the movement. By embracing the simplicity and freedom of form that characterised modernism, you can create logos that are both visually striking and timeless.

Modernism on the World Stage

Modernism has had a lasting impact on the world, influencing various aspects of society, from art to music. The movement has also played a significant role in shaping the way we perceive and portray reality, with its emphasis on personal voice, fragmentation, and dislocation.

In the broader context, modernism can be seen as a response to the challenges and changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution and the rapid pace of modernisation. By rejecting the old ways of doing things and embracing new ways to create meaning, modernism has left a lasting legacy on the world of design and beyond.


As a freelance digital designer specialising in modernist logo design, understanding the history of modernism and its influence on the world stage is crucial. By embracing the principles of modernism, such as simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, you can create logos that are both visually striking and timeless. By appreciating the impact of modernism on the world, you can continue to draw inspiration from this influential movement and create designs that resonate with audiences today.