The discipline of graphic design can be distinguished by particular art movements. Many movements called on past traditions and recognizable motifs to create appealing styles that audiences could appreciate. But as these illustrative concepts largely played by safe, social norms, there was a segment of artists who were seeking to disrupt these principles and expectations.

Out of this aspiration came the revolutionary movement of Dada. Utilizing the conventions of advertising, artists were inspired to create Dada out of a reaction against the global repercussions of World War I. Rather than work with the constraints of previous styles, they sought to imagine new ways of configuring elements like color, type, and form to capture the dense nature of abstract ideas, particularly ones that reflect on class. Dada was meant to shock, confound, and present a new strain of avant-garde art that wanted to critique society as much as it desired to uplift it.

Instructors Ellen Lupton and Brockett Horne explain more about the history of Dada in this session video from the course, Graphic Design History: An Introduction.

This video comes from Graphic Design History: An Introduction, an open course on Kadenze.

Graphic Design History: An Introduction