kleinejay_mondriaanDie Stijl was founded in 1917. The artists most recognized with the movement were the painters Theo van Doesburg, who was also a writer and a critic, and Piet Mondrian, along with the architect Gerrit Reitveld. The movement proposed ultimate simplicity and abstraction through which they could express.

The Netherlands-based De Stijl movement embraced an abstract and simplistic aesthetic centred around basic visual elements such as geometric forms and primary colors. The harmony and order was established through a reduction of elements to pure geometric forms and primary colors. The movement was partially a reaction against the Art deco period. The reduced quality of De Stijl art was envisioned by its creators as a universal visual language appropriate for the modern era. De Stijl artists applied their style to a host of media in the fine and applied arts and beyond. The idea was to create both a fusion of form and function, thereby making De Stijl in effect the ultimate style.

To this end, De Stijl artists turned their attention not only to fine art media such as painting and sculpture, but virtually all other art forms as well, including industrial design, typography, even literature and music. De Stijl’s influence was perhaps felt most noticeably in the realm of architecture, helping give rise to the International Style of the 1920s and 1930s.

Die Stijl was also the name of a publication discussing the groups theories which was published by van Doesburg. The publication Die Stijl represents the most significant work of graphic design from the movement, but the ideas of reduction of form and color are major influences on the development of graphic design as well. Modern day graphic designers take similar approach of “less is more” when coming up with designs, utilizing simpler forms and primary/simple colour palettes to convey an idea.


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