Many of today’s graphic design styles has it roots from Swiss-style, now more commonly known today as “modern design” or “international style.”
The style is recognized for its unique and rather groundbreaking attention to typography. Needless to say, Switzerland’s design culture has taken the world by storm.
Of course, the style has grown beyond the graphic industry and made its way into interior design, fashion and web design.
However, this Swiss-style is very common, mainly in Europe. Europe has always had innovative design, some countries more than others. And advances in technology have brought huge advances in design.
Much of what we see in European graphic design after 1950 is, again, Swiss-style: emphasis on typography, geometric shapes, clean lines, legibility and new color palettes. Overall, we find much more simplicity, too.
Many designers follow this style closely to achieve a vintage look, while others take lessons from its structural balance. An article over on Smashing Magazine, “Lessons from Swiss Style Graphic Design,” discusses just how this modern style reflects in web design, with many great examples of both.
Asia’s main cultures seem to incorporate a more historical sensibility into their modern graphic design. Japan in particular is renowned for mixing historical culture and modernism quite well, whether for graphic design, Web design, architecture or other structural designs.
Japan is known for its seamlessly integrated innovative and traditional architecture and use traditional architecture to inspire shapes, textures and structures into modern design.
This is also evident on the Japanese art scene. Japanese art seems to swing between two extremes: traditional and modern. Sometimes, though, those extremes are harmonized.
Asia style also seem to have a lot of movement and flow into their design, something that might be a related to Asian writings. Unlike European and North American words, Asian words are actually symbols, with each one representing something. Asian calligraphy dates back to many thousands of years and I feel is carry into the design. Of course when typing Asian words on a computer, one loses this movement and flow and many of them become very static and bulky.
Much of North American design is rooted in modernism, but still quite a bit of non-modernist tradition and culture exerts influence on graphic designers in this area.
As in Europe and most modernized Asian countries such as Japan, the Swiss style is popular here. But dig deeper and you’ll find design styles specific to this continent’s culture.
This is a very large continent with a large multicultural influence and very rooted in its short but deep history.