AW08 – Graphic Design History

  • Describe the Suprematism, Constructivism and Swiss movements. There is no prescribed word count; you just need to show that you understand their similarities and differences.
  • For each of these movements: find examples from their eras and contemporary designs that are influenced by these styles.
  • Explain, in your own words, how these designs were inspired by the movements.


The name was given by the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich. In 1913 he developed the abstract art form that was characterized by basic geometric forms, such as circles, squares, lines, and rectangles, painted in a limited range of colors.

Kasimir Malevich – Black cross on red oval – 1920
A modern and minimalist example inspired by suprematism.


Constructivism was an artistic and architectural art movement from Russia founded in 1915 by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko.

Constructivist art focused on industrial production. Constructivists used stripped-down, geometric forms and modest materials. Their visual language existed of forms that they could draw with practical instruments like compasses and rulers. Constructivist architecture and art had a great effect on modern art movements of the 20th century, influencing major trends such as the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements.

Alexander Rodchenko
Vladimir Tatlin
A modern poster by Shepard Fairey inspired by Constructivism.


The Swiss style emerged in the 1950´s and moved in two different directions. The Zürich Style, with the focus being mainly on typography, and the Basal style which mostly focused on grids. The Swiss style was a result of a desire to represent content objectively, where artists in the past created art just for the sake of creating something beautiful. The Swiss style was meant to convey a clear message, without the need of associated meaning. Sans Serif is dominant in this style, and two of the biggest influencers in this style were Armin Hofman and Josef Müller Brockmann.

Josef Müller Brockmann
A modern movie poster inspired by the Swiss style.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *