Arts and Crafts Movement

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The Arts & Crafts Movment

The Arts & Crafts Movement1880 to 1910The Arts and Crafts movement began as a reaction against the social, moral and artistic confusion of the Industrial Revolution.1Wait, you mean the Industrial Revolution wasnt all sunshine and rainbows? Well, not really.

Factory workers labored for 14 hours a day, often in dangerous conditions, for miserable wages. They lived in squalid, unsanitary tenements. The work force was exploited by Industrialists.2Many mass produced products were cheaply made and poorly designed.

Many of the goods produced were of poor, or dubious quality, and viewed by some as being cheap and nasty.3

The anything goes design philosophy often resulted in graphic design that resembled a 19th century version of do-it-yourself Myspace design.4

Early 1800s Book Design

Book design was a casualty of the Industrial Revolution, with the notable exception of Publisher, William Pickering.6The Elements of Euclid, 1847

Pickering controlled the book format design, type selection, illustrations and all other visual considerations. Working closely with the printer, he supervised the printing of the books. By working in this manner, Pickering played an important role in separating graphic design from printing production.7John Ruskin 1819-1900

Writer and artist

The union of art and labor, in service to society, would create the largest number of happy human beings.The Arts and Crafts movement was inspired by the philosophy of writer and artist John Ruskin. He felt that industrialization and technology caused a greater separation of art and society, and that separation should be eliminated.8William Morris 1834-1896

Designer, Writer and Painter

Founder of

Morris & CompanyThe Kelmscott PressWilliam Morris was a pivotal figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. His deep concern about the problems of industrialization and the factory system led him to implement Ruskins ideas and address the tastelessness of mass-produced goods and the lack of honest craftsmanship, through a reunion of art and craft.9Red House

William Morris had the Red House designed for him and his wife, by the architect Philip Webb. The house was notable for its L-shaped design, instead of being a rectangular box. During the decorating of the house, Morris discovered the appalling state of Victorian product and furniture design. 10Red House

This led Morris to design and supervise the production of furniture, stained glass and tapestries for his house. As a result of this experience, he established the art decorating firm Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company, which later became Morris and Company.11Morris was a brilliant two dimensional pattern designer.

Morris created over 500 pattern designs for wallpapers, textiles, carpets and tapestries. Medieval arts and botanical forms were his main influence. Wallpaper with his designs are still available today.12The Kelmscott Press

Morris founded a private press called Kelmscott Press, where the book became an art form whose elements were unified by a strong sense of design. As a book designer, Morris was greatly influence by medieval books. A private press is operated as an artistic or craft-based endeavor, rather than as a purely commercial venture. 13The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 1896

Meticulous hand-printing and handmade paper, combined with beautiful typeface designs, hand-cut woodblocks, initials, frames and borders inspired a whole new generation of book designers.14Rise of the Private Press

Private presses were soon established in several countries in Europe and in the United States. Several of these presses further evolved book design and typography, eventually moving away from the medieval influence to a more open design that had more in common with Japanese woodblock art, and bridged the gap with Art Nouveau Design.15

Jan van Krimpen, pages from Deirdre & de zonen van Usnach (Deirdre and the Sons of Usnach), by A. Roland Holst, Palladium Series, 1920.16Guilds

An association of persons, of the same trade or pursuits. Formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards.During this period a number of Guilds emerged, whose members sought to establish democratic artistic communities united for the common good. Among the most important was the Century Guild. The Century Guild Hobby Horse, featured the work of guild members and was the first magazine devoted to the visual arts.17Arts & Crafts Movement Legacy

Although it eventually gave way to Art Nouveau during the early part of the 20th Century, the most lasting effect of the Arts and Crafts movement is the commitment to design and quality. The movement resisted the fast, cheap and low quality products that became common during the Industrial Revolution. Good designers and printers today obsess over details, while striving to create the highest quality product.18