Re-Learning Postmodernism in the History of Graphic Design: A (Con)Textual Analysis of Design Journal in the Late 1960s

Julia Moszkowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article provides a historical understanding of the term postmodernism, in light of its use by members of the British design community in the late 1960s. It offers close textual analysis of the journal Design in this period, one revealing genuine concern for the future of British design culture and the potential of graphic design to make a significant contribution within it. Often explored with a degree of trepidation, topics for discussion include the volatility of markets and the expendable nature of contemporary product cycles. This article augments existing histories of graphic design, where the term ?postmodern? has been commonly associated with a distinct visual style and creative methodology. Within such histories, postmodernism is discussed in terms of multi-layered artefacts with playful visual surfaces that are frequently aligned with ?new thinking? in Britain and America from the 1980s onwards. This article serves as a reminder that, contrary to the formalist and theoretical concerns of these accounts, the term ?postmodern graphic design? encompasses an earlier period and a wider range of original concerns. Postmodernism emerges as a term that, contrary to dominant histories, describes an approach that is fully imbricated within the fabric of socio-economic life (and as early as 1968).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Design History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


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