If Famous Graphic Artists Were Web Designers…

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Styles in design are described and classified in many ways. Sometimes they are given a moniker, like “Web 2.0,” other times they are referred to by their appearance: grungy, minimalist, retro, big type. The people (and brands) to which modern design styles are attributed are as numerous as the styles themselves. Many designers look to a brand such as Apple as an example of great modern design because a designer’s sensibility is infused into everything it does.

Even though many current styles and trends can be connected to recent design pieces, they do not originate there. So much modern design originated before computers and the Web were even a glimmer in the eye of their creators.

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Looking back and drawing inspiration from very early graphic and print design is a current trend nowadays, but that is not the beginning of the story. As you go further back, you’ll find groundbreaking design decades, even a century, ago. In this article we’ll explore inspirational paintings and artists who have influenced modern design. In reading this article, you will see some true evolution in design.

Where Art Meets Design

The term “graphic design” was coined in 1922 by one of the first modern designers, William Addison Dwiggins1. He described himself as, “[an] individual who brings structural order and visual form to printed communications.” This seems to be where art meets design. Design is for communicating and achieving a specific goal. Today, the goal is often to market and sell products or services through design, whether by packaging a product, building a brand or creating a Web experience.

Sistine Chapel

So, is design today merely art created for the express purpose of generating profit? One could argue that great artists in history created their own art for profit. Michelangelo2‘s Scenes from Genesis on the Sistine Chapel and Leonardo da Vinci3‘s great work The Last Supper were both commissioned by the church. Today, we regard their work as innovative and embodiments of the Renaissance, but we forget they were also created for profit.

We like to think of great artists as purely motivated individuals who are driven to express themselves or transform our perception of the world. Colors, textures and composition are part of their process of self-discovery and reflect the aesthetics of the time. Modern designers are no different. Even though a particular design may be intended to communicate the message of a corporation, it still reflects the world around us, and the designer has left their mark on it.

Art History Found Today

The best art in history was unprecedented and transcended its time. It sometimes seems as if the artists were conscious of future generations enjoying their work. Their compositions, colors, and styles don’t just hang on gallery walls today. They are all around us, in everything from shoes to album covers.

Piet Mondriaan

Piet Mondriaan554, Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue, 1927

Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue

Mondriaan’s influence seen today: Chiasso Windows Vase5

Chiasso Windows Vase6

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol22147, Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times, 1963

Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times

Warhol’s influence seen today: Soho Brewery Packaging8

Soho Brewery Packaging9

Yves Klein

Yves Klein571910, IKB 191, 1962

IKB 191

Klein’s influence seen today: Chanel Purse in “Klein Bleu”

Chanel Purse Klein Bleu

Robert Irwan

Robert Irwin11, Untitled, 1968

Untitled

Irwin’s influence seen today: ISST Organic Ice Tea Packaging12

ISST Organic Tea Packaging13

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol22147, Banana, 1966

Banana

Warhol’s influence seen today: Royal Elastics’ Andy Warhol Shoes

Royal Elastics' Andy Warhol Shoes

Frank Stella

Frank Stella15, The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II, 1959

The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II

Stella’s influence seen today: ASKUL Branding16

ASKUL Branding17

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama18, Infinity Dots H.R.T, 2001

Infinity Dots H.R.T

Kusama’s influence seen today: The Killers Album Art

The Killers Album Art (2008)

If Famous Painters Were Web Designers

What if these great masters were alive today? What if they were using a mouse instead of a brush, RGB instead of mixed oils and a computer screen instead of linen canvas. If these famous artists were alive now, these are the websites they might have designed.

Yves Klein

Yves Klein571910, IKB 191, 1962

IKB 191

A website Klein might have designed: Britain Rocks20

Britain Rocks21

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol22147, Knives, 1981-82

Basquiat - Self Portrait

A website Warhol might have designed: Carsonified23

Carsonified24

David Alfaro Siqueiros

David Alfaro Siqueiros25, Collective Suicide, 1936

Collective Suicide

A website Siqueiros might have designed: Snagt26

Snagt27

Lyubov Popova

Lyubov Popova28, Painterly Architectonic, 1917

Painterly Architectonic

A website Popova might have designed: Douglas Menezes29

Douglas Menezes30

Claude Monet

Claude Monet31, Impression, Sunrise, 1872

Impression, Sunrise

A website Monet might have designed: Viget Inspire32

Viget Inspire33

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse34, La Gerbe, 1953

La Gerbe

A website Matisse might have designed: Devia35

Devia36

Paul Klee

Paul Klee37, Fish Magic, 1925

Fish Magic

A website Klee might have designed: Ali Felski38

Ali Felski39

Basquiat

Basquiat5240, Pegasus, 1987

Pegasus

A website Basquiat might have designed: Orange Label41

Orange Label42

Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell43, Untitled, 1960

Untitled

A website Mitchell might have designed: Siete De Febrero44

Siete De Febrero45

Georges Braque

Georges Braque46, Fruit Dish, 1908-09

Fruit Dish

A website Braque might have designed: Belvoir Fruit Farms47

Belvoir Fruit Farms48

Hans Hoffmann

Hans Hoffmann49, Bald Eagle, 1950

Bald Eagle

A website Hoffmann might have designed: Funny Garbage50

Funny Garbage51

Basquiat

Basquiat5240, Beat Bop, 1983

Beat Bop

A website Basquiat might have designed: Starbucks Coffee At Home53

Starbucks Coffee At Home54

A Closer Look At Six Great Artists

If asked to name a few great artists, someone might first think of Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Many other great artists, though, have shown their influence on modern design. Below are six artists who are unique, innovative and ahead of their time.

Piet Mondriaan

Piet Mondriaan554 (1872-1944) was a Dutch artist known for clean, grid-style paintings. His later compositions, which may initially look simple, took him months to paint. Each element, from the rectangles to the lines, are composed with precision, with careful attention paid to thickness and width. Mondriaan’s work has influenced the design of modern architecture, print layouts, linoleum and, of course, the minimalist style in modern design.

Rhythm of Black Lines, 1935-42

Rhythm of Black Lines

Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43

Broadway Boogie Woogie

Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat56 (1960-1988) was an American artist known for graffiti-influenced and early grunge-style paintings. He started out as a graffiti artist in New York City and later sold postcards and the like along with his artwork on the streets. His painting career took off, and he became known for his use of text and images from popular culture, as well as painting on found objects. Basquiat has been credited with bringing the African-American and Latino experience to the art world.

Self-Portrait, 1982

Self-Portrait

Per Capita, 1983

Per Capita

Yves Klein

Yves Klein571910 (1928-1962) was a French artist known for his minimalist monochromatic paintings, featuring his signature deep blue. He worked with blue extensively in his early career and, in 1958, began to use it as a dominant element, making the color itself the art.

International Klein Blue (IKB)58 is the deep blue hue first mixed by Yves Klein. It is outside the color gamut of computer displays, so it cannot be shown accurately in digital format.

International Klein Blue (IKB)59

La Vague, 1957

La Vague

Joan Miró

Joan Miró60 (1893-1983) was a Spanish artist known for an abstract, collage-style of painting. He famously declared, “I want to assassinate painting.” Miró wanted to upset the traditional and popular styles of art. He was against art for the sake of propaganda or to give the wealthy a cultural identity. Miró tried not to associate himself with any specific art styles or movements. His bold compositions and fresh thinking have influenced many great modern designers.

Hand Catching a Bird, 1926

Still Life II

L’Oro dell’Azzurro, 1935

The Hunter (Catalan Landscape)

El Lissitzky

Lazar Markovich Lissitzky61 (1890-1941) was a Russian artist known for his geometric and early graphic-design style. He was a versatile artist who worked in close to a dozen fields, from painting to architectural design. He influenced the Bauhaus and De Stijl (Mondriaan) movements. His artwork and production techniques heavily influence commercial art and modern design today.

Beat the White with the Red Wedge, 1919

Beat the White with the Red Wedge

Self-Portrait, 1914

Self-Portrait

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt62 (1862-1918) was an Austrian artist known for his decorative paintings that make heavy use of gold and provocative symbolism. He is one of the founders of the Vienna Art Nouveau (Vienna Secession) movement. He is known for his “Golden Phase,” which is characterized by gold leaves and influences ranging from Byzantine to Egyptian. His compositions have symbolic elements that represent such psychological ideas as the “femme fatal.”

The Kiss, 1907

The Kiss

The Tree of Life, 1909

The Tree of Life

Stepping Back To Move Forward

Inspiration and examples of well-executed designs fill up galleries, blogs and online sources like Flickr. Leading industry magazines such as HOW and Communication Arts show the best of what modern design offers. Many of us look to these sources for ideas and to find the spark for our next masterpiece.

But many designers do not bother looking to works of art from earlier in history. By stepping back in time and walking through an art museum or reading the bio and studying the works of an artist from the past, we can find new ways to approach today’s design challenges.

Resources and Related Posts

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Addison_Dwiggins
  2. 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo
  3. 3 http://www.mos.org/leonardo/
  4. 4 http://www.pietmondrian.org/piet-mondrian.php
  5. 5 http://design-milk.com/windows-vase/
  6. 6 http://design-milk.com/windows-vase/
  7. 7 http://www.warhol.org/
  8. 8 http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2009/08/student-spotlight-erin-dameron.html
  9. 9 http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2009/08/student-spotlight-erin-dameron.html
  10. 10 http://www.yveskleinarchives.org/
  11. 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Irwin_%28artist%29
  12. 12 http://www.artentiko.com/
  13. 13 http://www.artentiko.com/
  14. 14 http://www.warhol.org/
  15. 15 http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A5640&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1
  16. 16 http://www.stockholmdesignlab.se/#/1111/library/clients/askul/askul/
  17. 17 http://www.stockholmdesignlab.se/#/1111/library/clients/askul/askul/
  18. 18 http://www.yayoi-kusama.jp/e/exhibitions/00.html
  19. 19 http://www.yveskleinarchives.org/
  20. 20 http://www.visitbritainrocks.ca/
  21. 21 http://www.visitbritainrocks.ca/
  22. 22 http://www.warhol.org/
  23. 23 http://carsonified.com/
  24. 24 http://carsonified.com/
  25. 25 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Alfaro_Siqueiros
  26. 26 http://bestwebgallery.com/2007/01/03/snagt/
  27. 27 http://bestwebgallery.com/2007/01/03/snagt/
  28. 28 http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=4694
  29. 29 http://douglasmenezes.com/wp/
  30. 30 http://douglasmenezes.com/wp/
  31. 31 http://www.intermonet.com/
  32. 32 http://www.viget.com/inspire
  33. 33 http://www.viget.com/inspire
  34. 34 http://www.henri-matisse.net/index.html
  35. 35 http://www.devia.be/
  36. 36 http://www.devia.be/
  37. 37 http://www.swissinfo.ch/specials/klee/paul_klee_index.html
  38. 38 http://alifelski.com/
  39. 39 http://alifelski.com/
  40. 40 http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/basquiat/street-to-studio/english/home.php
  41. 41 http://www.orangelabel.com/
  42. 42 http://www.orangelabel.com/
  43. 43 http://www.artnet.com/awc/joan-mitchell.html
  44. 44 http://www.sietedefebrero.com/
  45. 45 http://www.sietedefebrero.com/
  46. 46 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Braque
  47. 47 http://blog.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/
  48. 48 http://blog.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/
  49. 49 http://www.hanshofmann.net/art/art.html
  50. 50 http://www.funnygarbage.com/
  51. 51 http://www.funnygarbage.com/
  52. 52 http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/basquiat/street-to-studio/english/home.php
  53. 53 http://www.starbuckscoffeeathome.com/
  54. 54 http://www.starbuckscoffeeathome.com/
  55. 55 http://www.pietmondrian.org/piet-mondrian.php
  56. 56 http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/basquiat/street-to-studio/english/home.php
  57. 57 http://www.yveskleinarchives.org/
  58. 58 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Klein_Blue
  59. 59 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Klein_Blue
  60. 60 http://media.moma.org/subsites/2008/miro/
  61. 61 http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/digitized_collections/lissitzky/
  62. 62 http://www.iklimt.com/
  63. 63 http://www.designhistory.org/20th_Century.html
  64. 64 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,825048,00.html
  65. 65 http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/11/1146
  66. 66 http://nymag.com/arts/art/reviews/21938/
  67. 67 http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/andy-warhol/a-documentary-film/44/
  68. 68 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/17/lessons-from-swiss-style-graphic-design/
  69. 69 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/08/02/bauhaus-ninety-years-of-inspiration/

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Francisco Inchauste is an interaction designer at Universal Mind, helping clients create great Web experiences. He regularly contributes to Web design blogs, magazines, and books. He recently served as Editor of Smashing Magazine’s UX Design section. You can connect with him on Twitter, or read more on his blog.

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  1. 1

    I’ve been studying fine arts since 13 years old, so it’s quite refreshing to see and read this kind of comparison. I’m more than agree with it, it’s a great post! The best comparisons of all are Piet Mondriaan’ and Georges Braque’s.
    By the way, Gustav Klimt is my fav.

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  2. 152

    A lot of them make sense.
    Nice post

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  3. 303

    My favourite comment: Christopher Rees.

    And I liked the article.

    1
  4. 454

    This post is awesome!

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  5. 605

    This is a bit far fetched imho.

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  6. 756

    Very informative!

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  7. 907

    attractive post, smashing one :)

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  8. 1058

    Liked the article. My only gripe is that you insist in calling the guy Mondriaan. He dropped the extra “a” from his name in 1912. I think he would like us to do the same.

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  9. 1209

    Interesting Article , keep posting Francisco… excellent art with web designing

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  10. 1360

    Very good article.
    When referring to art, the words “influence” and “inspiration” don’t mean an attempt at copying or imitating. Commenting naysayers are missing the point that the work of fine artists of the caliber of Gaugin or Mondrian (only one a, please) permeates today’s culture and has defined and has become part of our collective visual vocabulary. Artists and designers pick up the queues from the culture that surrounds them; including the work of influential artists that came before them.

    As far as the comment about artists not being designers and designers not being artists, what that apparent truism is missing is the fact that effective visual communication must be built on familiar points of reference. Some fine artists have been so influential that they have created or defined points of reference that designers can’t help but lean on.

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  11. 1511

    Posts like this make me stop visiting this site. It makes me trust the source less and less. Stick to what you know. Some of the ‘inspirations’ were actually ‘homages’ which would probably mean you’re better off trying to find other works by the artist who did the homage, as they clearly like the artist they’re respecting enough to be inspired by them. I agree with the above comment stating that the inspiration comes from the inherent style our culture has grown accustom to, but to put these things side by side and say ‘look, close huh?’ makes me feel like you’re putting some of these average websites up beside some masterpieces.

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  12. 1662

    Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. I saw the faceplate of a vintage 70s radio in the layout of a website the other day. The web designer is the new black sheep, informally educated, experimental designer that characterized the 90s (think Raygun).

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  13. 1813

    Loving the posts from the art history squeakers on here. I’m reminded of a quote from a stonemason on my fine art course … “If you want to make art what the f**k are you doing here?”. Nothing annoys me worse than the pathetic squibbles of people who think they can plump up their egos by dissing somebody else’s perception of what they consider good by calling up a reference to some other jumped up talentless no-mark’s preconception of an artist’s work… We aren’t fools – we know theft when we see it, we also recognise inspiration and know the difference. The websites cited aren’t art, but then neither are most of the websites, posters, brochures, tv adverts, illustrations, commercial art, logos, product designs, architectural drawings, photographs or doodles which most of us who read SM produce. That doesn’t mean we cannot draw inspiration, and who the f**k gives you idiots the right to say that X did not derive inspiration from Y? The article perhaps takes a liberty in saying that the website/product in question deliberately pre-supposes (or indeed directly references) the artwork but who’s going to argue semantics? This is about inspiration, not words. Nice article SM – more of the same (but maybe under the SM*ART banner ;-] ) … gonna have to trademark that SM*ART thing…

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  14. 1964

    Awesome collection. Really.

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  15. 2115

    Rajesh Trilokhria

    August 31, 2009 2:26 am

    Super :-))

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  16. 2266

    This article is so wonderfull! I didn’t know how many inspiration we can take from the older artists. Thanks!

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  17. 2417

    Incredible!

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  18. 2568

    I hate to be a naysayer but most of those connections seem tenuous at best.

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  19. 2719

    Very Nice! I like the way you have linked the two up. Really interesting article.

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  20. 2870

    Andrei Scarlatescu

    September 1, 2009 12:11 pm

    Kinves –> Carsonified haha, I loved that!

    0
  21. 3021

    “…who the f**k gives you idiots the right to say that X did not derive inspiration from Y…”

    Nearly two decades of international art practice, a post graduate degree, and a continuing dedication to research across many kinds of visual and literary communication. And an ability to trust my own instincts….

    “Judo has helped me to understand that pictorial space is above all the product of spiritual exercises. Judo is in fact the discovery by the human body of a spiritual space.” Yves Klein.

    If anyone can convincingly explain how “Britain Rocks” is a form that attempts to articulate the relationship between the corporeal and the transcendent, rather than being an attempt to capitalise on nationalist sentiment, then I’ll happily retract my previous description of it.

    And as for the nature of ‘influence’ it is simply not good enough to point at an Yves Klein Anthropometry (mistitled as IKB 191, by the way), and say “oh yeah, this blue website has got a bit of montage in it, so Yves Klein would have made something like this”. I’m sorry but that insults the intelligence of this community on so many different levels, its really quite discourteous.

    Style is a nebulous concept, but its not just about how something looks….

    1
  22. 3172

    Wow nihil, so you are you saying this amazing biography makes your opinion better than the rest? I don’t think so.

    “If anyone can convincingly explain how “Britain Rocks” is a form that attempts to articulate the relationship between the corporeal and the transcendent…”No even CARES to discuss that relationship. This is Smashing Magazine, not some snobby art show, which apparently you’ve just stepped out of. Style and inspiration are relative. The definitions of style I’ve seen relate to aesthetics over content. As a designer I get inspiration in a visual sense. It might be the use of color, or a type treatment. The point is we don’t have to know Klein’s inner thoughts to think the montage aspect of the painting could be an element we’d like to explore in a design.

    “…insults the intelligence of this community…really quite discourteous.” Ah yes, I imagine that is why this was written, to slap all the readers in the face. You’re right, the intention of the article was not to show some visual similarities of art in design today. 

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  23. 3323

    Well this is about the silliest post I think I’ve read on this site. *thumbs down* Can’t win’em all I guess.

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  24. 3474

    Fuad Ahasan Chowdhury

    September 5, 2009 7:14 am

    thats a great share.. :) cheer

    0
  25. 3625

    Are you kidding? Why are you trying to imply fake inspirational leads for some of those websites? Did the author of this post email any of those sites’ designers and ask “What inspired you?” That would’ve made for a much more interesting article than to view some GREAT pieces of art through such a narrow-minded filter.

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  26. 3776

    very interesting comparison, creative and smart.

    regards!

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  27. 3927

    excellent article. I would like to read something from the author about kandinsky’s influence on web design. I think kandinsky truly inspired a web design style. any commnents?

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  28. 4078

    So interesting to see the resemblances between the artists and the designs.

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  29. 4229

    I sometimes find it difficult to understand the purpose of posts like this. It’s all very nice, thank you, but what’s the point? The comparisons are stretched and rather personal in nature. Moreover, the influence of great artists can be so profound and diverse that it is difficult to measure it with any appreciable amount of accuracy.

    And why go gaga over Warhol alone? Notable exceptions include Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and about a hundred more! I’m afraid, this is severely incomplete list!

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  30. 4380

    Great article but seeing Basquiat and Warhol makes me want to vomit on a canvas and sell it. I’m not too far from what they do. It’s hard for me to appreciate any of their work when nothing they do impresses me. I see nothing aesthetic pleasing about them. They’re overrated and overpriced dribble.

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  31. 4531

    Brendan Stromberger

    September 20, 2009 6:03 pm

    Yeah, not to be a dick or an art history douche, but here goes:
    I’m still an undergrad in Fine Arts, but this article really fails to grasp the notions and intentions of these art movements. Comparing Monet to Viget Labs? What a silly comparison…

    Moreover, these web sites (and web design in general) is heavily influenced by Swiss-grid-based design. That is to say, this article treats web design as if it is a design paradigm existing in a vacuum, whereas in reality it has roots in real graphic design movements (Bauhaus, Constructivism, Swiss design, minimalism, etc etc)

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  32. 4682

    Great post, and a great overview of some great influencers of modern art and design. Personally love Basquait’s work, Rothko, and Yves Klein’s IKB is seriously deep when seen in real life.

    It might be a good idea to avoid generalist statements such as at the end of the article: “many designers do not bother looking to works of art from earlier in history”. There’s no measurable way to back a statement like that up. I studied art history for 3 years as a part of a bachelor of design studies. I’m not sure what other design related courses include, but I’d lean away from generalizations.

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  33. 4833

    ”No even CARES to discuss that relationship.” Merman

    That much is obvious… But if you can’t be bothered to examine such relationships, why get annoyed by those who can. Why not just re-examine your attitude?

    0
  34. 4984

    No matter what, this is a great post. Thanks!

    0
  35. 5135

    Francisco, great article. I guess I don’t have a real problem with the idea that current web design may be influenced by the great artists of the past. Since most web designers were at one point more than likely in an art history class, it just stands to reason that their art would be inspired directly or indirectly. I love the idea of drawing correlations between famous works and current web trends. I love it because I don’t take it too literally and can sit back and see similarities regardless of how small they would be.

    For all the pretentious art history gods on here, lighten up. What a miserable crowd. This is an article on Smashing Magazine meant to promote thought and encourage further research. This isn’t a manifesto outlining artistic absolutes across history and mediums. I don’t need lessons about the underlying philosophical differences between Andy Warhol and Carsonified. Give me a break.

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  36. 5286

    Blue i can feel it mmm… its … very nice…

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  37. 5437

    Great stuff. Tack on one :thumbsup: from me.

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  38. 5588

    Honestly, I’m not sure whether the article itself or the flood of ass-kissing that followed is more depressing.

    Look -and I say this as a working designer- we’re NOT artists, we’re paid shills (and the indifference/hostility most of the posters have here towards ‘proper’ art and art history shows it.) We’re cogs in a much bigger machine to move product- which is fine. It’s just a job. But please don’t start comparing working designers to artists- it just makes you look like you don’t understand the underpinnings or goals of either.

    About as superficial as they come, this article.

    @P. Dross: Fair Enough. I don’t think the anger here is really intended to be directed at any of the designers of the sites listed, just Mr. Inchauste. Yours is really an excellent site, and It’s unfortunate you got caught in the crossfire.

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  39. 5739

    You’re really stretching it trying to connect some designers to famous works of art…

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  40. 5890

    I’m unimpressed. Just because something appears screen printed it’s inspired directly by Warhol? I think this was a very uninspired post, not what I’m used to seeing from Smashing.

    0
  41. 6041

    Raschid Alami-Merrouni

    October 28, 2009 1:34 pm

    Thumbs up from me too – really interesting idea. As a long time graphic artist (mostly in print) moving into web design, I thought the article was absolutely relevant and a good source of inspiration. There’s no need to over-think this. You have to at least appreciate the massive effort.

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  42. 6192

    Great Post. Keep it up..

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  43. 6343

    As a traditional artist who does web graphic design to fuel her dreams, I really enjoyed this post. I think the more I learn about web design (I was in print before) the more I’m inspired to make sites that look more like art. This post most certainly helped.

    There is a vast and incredibly rich strata of fine art throughout all of history that will help us put a more organic, human face on our technology.

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  44. 6494

    This article was NOT meant to be a fucking masters dissertation on artistic influences you bunch of niggling panty-waists. It’s one designer’s opinion.

    Francisco, you obviously put a whole lot of time into researching and writing this article and I applaud your efforts. FYI: my wife teaches art history at a local design college and was equally impressed.

    1
  45. 6645

    I was brought here by another friend who enjoys your articles, mainly because his knowledge of art is limited. Mine is too, but I’m an art student and I can say that this article is pathetic. The comparisons are stretched so far out of the acceptable. Comparing the work of Matisse to the Devia website or even saying the second was inspired by the first is simply ridiculous. Please stop making things up, there are enough bad designers out there as it is, we don’t need more people learning it all the wrong way on the internet.

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  46. 6796

    Interesting Post . Enjoyed every bit of it.

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  47. 6947

    This post alludes to the idea that an artist is a generator of styles. It is likely that many of these designs were created without much reference or tacit knowledge of the artists. Particularly as they are adopting styles for branding and not a historical conceptual background that would generally be used to guide artworks.

    This says a lot about contemporary ‘global’ society and culture, ideas and visual languages are adopted without any understanding of why they are being referenced apart from they look good. A nineteenth century example would be a designer who holidays in Istanbul and on their return they use motifs discovered in a mosque as the starting point to develop a logo for a bank. The contemorary designer is more likly to be inspired by anything that shifts across their screen. The result may look good but does nothing for the development of meaningful visual identities. The phenomenon is not just western as evident in an exhibition in London on Chinese design. Most of the work looked like an endless parade of western visual styles and consequently totally empty of original ideas.

    I would propose a scheme in which a group of designers adopt the theoretical frameworks used by certain artists and see what comes out of it? For example from Dada comes Warhol comes Punk comes Ad-busters? This does not mean copying visual styles but using belief systems to create work. It also requires asking honest questions of yourself before you put pen to paper and not opting for easy stylistic solutions to problems.

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  48. 7098

    Outstanding article! I completely love it. I am doing research for a similar article I am writing about great web designers. Your article is well written and intelligent. Keep up the great work.

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  49. 7249

    Some the artistes mentioned wouldn’t make the exactly the sites given as example.

    For example, Andy Warhol if ever made a website it wouldn’t be like Carsonified because the kind of work he did was different of his time.
    Carsonified is game changing design but based on same structure.

    I bet these artistes would have made their websites on Flash..

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  50. 7400

    Good try, i see why you wanted to create that post. Unfortunately there are lots of big mistakes in your research, as for example Monet and Viget website! OMG!!! How can you think Viget’s designer got inspired by Monet? He did a watercolour website, Monet used oiled and was one of the painters who cut from traditional classicism by inventing impressionism. Nothing to do with watercolour!

    Where do you see Braque in the website you present?

    Paul Klee/Felski is very true on the contrary, well done for that one.

    Starbucks designers didn’t get inspired by Basquia either, but by the fact that cafes present their product on black boards. As simple.

    This post deserves to by rewrote, as it gives an interesting perspective for inspiration.

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