Write a 8 pages paper on dadaism and its influence on late mid twentieth century design. Design can be shown to have benefited from the innovations that occurred through the Dadaist movement. This paper will review the way in which Dada was defined and relate its evolution to the meaning that was placed in artistic works within the culture of Dada. The discussion will turn towards the work of James Reid and Vivienne Westwoods in order to reveal how Dada has been influential in design. Through focusing on these two designers, the concepts of Dada will emerge as influential to the development of their work and its importance in the evolving topics of design.

Defining Dada often leaves the one doing the describing in a perpetual negative space. The explanation is often more focused on what Dada does not represent. Dada does not represent the common, the beliefs that had come before it about what defined art. Dada is about the avant-garde, even though it is technically a precursor to avant-garde ideas, but it is questionable that the definition of that term would suffice to describe Dada. Dada can be described for its visual impression, defining what is seen by what is perceived. An example of this is the use of words in order to create a visual impact. What the words say is not more important than the composition of the lettering, the way in which the visual impact performs. The viewer experiences the sensation of reading, but the experience is beyond just that concept. Dada took the evolution of design and printing to a place in which visual impact was used to create communication.

At the time of Dada, the explanation of it was obscure. the idea of the irony in its creation meaning that it was the antithesis of all that was art. Dada was “nothing” as described by Duchamp. According to descriptions by Blythe and Powers (2006, p. 7) “Dada directed its energies toward challenging accepted notions of art and the tradition of oil painting, most noticeably by designating pre-existing mass-produced objects – so-called ‘Readymades’ – art and by using the playful language of puns offering humor and simultaneous meanings”. Dada was about using art against itself by creating graphically designed pieces that could be interpreted as anti-art, which in turn made them quintessentially art. The irony of Dada was always that in trying to not be what it was it was more itself. Dada, in not being art, became essentially artistic.

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