Naïve: Modernism and Folklore in Contemporary Design, the new book from Gestalten, tells the story, largely in images, of a new trend of looking back in graphic design. Contemporary designers are drawing inspiration from modernist paradigms of the 1940s-1960s, pioneers like Saul Bass, and pre-digital techniques such as silkscreen and classical typography. Outside of an introductory essay, the work of this new troupe of designers is left to speak for itself…and speak it does.
Call me anachronistic, but I am a sucker for this classic modernist style: the playful quality of the design, the distinctive color palette, and the hands-on technique. Pouring over the book, I could not help but beg the question – why now, this return to the old new? With the advent of digital design techniques, we have come to expect cool, minimalist, text-based design. This neo-modernist trend reinserts the artist into the image by harkening back to a time when designers made each element of their designs literally by hand. The stylistic nostalgia does not (and cannot) negate the relevance of digital design techniques and aesthetic, but it certainly does remind us that there is an alternative. Check out the book for yourself…I look forward to hearing your thoughts!