THE GENESIS OF TWENTIETH-CENTURY DESIGN
The turn of a century invites introspection. As one century closes and a new one begins, writers and artists begin to question conventional wisdom and speculate on new possibilities for changing the circumstances of culture. For example, the end of the eighteenth century gave birth to a new category of typeface design, which is still called the modern style two hundred years later. At the same time, the neoclassical revival of Creco-Roman forms in architecture, clothing, painting, and illustration replaced baroque and rococo design. As the nineteenth century drew to a close and the twentieth century began, designers across the disciplines of architectural, fashion, graphic, and product design searched for new forms of expression. Technological and industrial advances fed these concerns. The new design vocabulary of art nouveau had challenged the conventions of Victorian design. Art nouveau proved that inventing new forms, rather than copying forms from nature or historical models, was a viable approach. The potential of abstract and reductive drawing and design was explored by designers in Scotland, Austria, and Germany who moved away from the serpentine beauty of organic drawing as they sought a new aesthetic philosophy to address the changing social, economic, and cultural conditions at the turn of a century.