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Introducing Post-Modernism Into Web Design

Postmodernism in Web Design

Technically, we are no longer a part of the post-modern era. Spanning for an approx period of 40 years between the 1920s and the 1960s, post-modernist thinkers “deconstructed” the modernist, avant-garde passion for the new. This resulted in the rise of a revolutionary outlook towards literature, music, architecture and criticism.


Post-modernism adopted a ‘Collage Approach’ to construction where elements of modern utility merged with the reassuring classical forms of the past. In short, it aimed at creating an atmosphere of multidimensionality where every distinction got dissolved.


What led to the Rise of Post-modernism?


In simple words, it is a revolt against the authority and dominance of modernist ideologies. While modernism focused on staying firm with existing ethos and artistic rules, post-modernism was completely in favor of artistic intensity and unchained creativity. In short, it was the amplification or distortion of established codes.


Post-modernism existed when computers were just coming into the limelight. As a result, the post-modernist ideologies could never be fully implemented into the digital world. With post-postmodernism moving back to the modernist ideologies (stringent rules on web design elements) since the mid-90s, is this not the right time to break the glass box, and challenge the accepted stencils and standard typographies?


How Can Post-Modernism be used in Web Designing?


#1. Twisting the Existing Norms


Post-modernism is all about challenging and twisting the existence of the present norms. Now, the general trend behind designing a website is being sedate and unadventurous. For example, how about creating a website which is not only sedate, but also pokes fun at itself for being sedate? A sedate website will pull the serious and professional crowd for sure. Moreover, the little jab is stupendously humorous and it will be well loved by the hipster crowds. Or, how about discarding a 3D software like CorelDraw and using the paint brush in Illustrator to create a logo?


#2. Challenging the Typography


Web designers must know that different types of typography can be used only in specific situations. For example, no designer dares to use the ‘Comic Sans’ when designing an e-commerce website. This font is specific to websites that deal with light-hearted subjects. While there is no need to change the norms completely (as it can greatly hamper readability), designers can obviously try out combinations of different typographies, styles and fonts in order to create something that is an altered version of reality. Keeping in mind that no harm is done to the readability, a web designer can bring out unique possibilities with this mechanism.


#3. Bringing Back the Wit


Subtle sarcasm and metaphors on the established norms are great ways of being witty. And yes, wit was an important part of post-modernism. It’s hard to integrate wit in a design without the help of the copywriters. Web designers should ask for their help and tell the your precise requirements. Let them come up with the humorous copies. The job of a web designer will be focusing on proper placement of the texts. A hallmark of post-modern design – random geometric shapes – can come in handy when used to accentuate the effects of words.



Web designers do not need to understand the philosophical aspects of post-modernism. All they should focus on is taking a cue from post-modernist ideologies, and trying to create something that is original, innovative, and beyond the expected norms of design rulebook.

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Sarah Clark

Written by

Sarah Clark, working in B3NET Inc. as Technical Editor. B3NET is leading orange county web design company in California.