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Postmodernism Characteristics in Design

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 4/29/2011

The rejection of conformity, truth is a lie, and your authority is a lie. The characteristics of postmodernism is the opposite of what you think is true and in the terms of graphic design and desktop publishing, the sky can be the limit in expression.Here, we look at the goal of postmodernism.

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    Every selection of art and literature had a portion in which the flow of writing, painting, and design changed and allowed for the emergence of a new style. Sometimes, these new styles are the rejection of the old styles; this is the point of postmodernism. Postmodernism was a style of rejection of the modernistic art and literature that happened in the later part of the 20th century.

    Many people may not know what the term is, but they might certainly have seen its evidence, and some may say that we still enjoy some of its elements even today.

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    What is Postmodernism?

    Postmodernism is usually identified from the late 1950s and onwards. Where the modern movement was about finding truth of life and experiences, placing ideas, faith, values, culture within the western world,Characteristics of Postmodernism  and unification of vision; postmodernism is the direct opposite.

    Postmodern art and literature felt that the truth was a lie, authoritative figures were corrupt, and the West had brought about the destruction of the world. The characteristics of postmodernism can be seen even today, with the denouncement of the unfulfilled promises of science, religion, and technology and the disputes with religion and its figures. Other points of postmodernism are -

    • Truth as a contrived illusion
    • Ownership
    • Globalism
    • Disillusionment
    • Liberal Ethics
    • Pro-Environment

    Who Were the Artists?

    While the term may not mean a lot to many people, postmodernism actually spawned several different areas of art and literature, including the Dada movement, Surrealism, Futurism, and Pop Art.

    Many of these artists who were a part of this have now become a part of our own pop culture and references - parodies of Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory have been done on many shows, including the popular animated sitcoms The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad; Andy Warhol's classic screen print portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Feldon, and Elizabeth Taylor can still be seen today, and of course, the mention of Jackson Pollock will normally have collectors rushing to find one.

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    What Can We Learn From This Style?

    Certainly, one thriving design taken from the postmodernism movement is that of pop art, which has been serialized in many a comic strip and graphic novel - most notably by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, as well as the dream-like quality from Dali.

    For desktop publishers, this style holds a certain amount of freedom in creating what you feel you want to create. In postmodern design, the artist does not care to give the viewing audience a hint of what they are going for in their design, instead allowing the audience to come up with their own interpretation. This can be a great way to express your thoughts, hopes, or desires without having someone correct you.

    This style can also be used in a professional capacity in which to give a throwback to the style. Certainly, many graphic designers who draw for comics or graphic novels can view pop art as an influence; the different styles of this movement can be used to not only go retro, but to bring a new focus to the style.

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    Introduction to Modernism and Postmodernism,

    Characteristics of Postmodernism,

    Postmodern Art and Artists,

    Image content via Flickr