Jeffery Keedy and Postmodernism in Graphic Design

Jeffery Keedy aside from being a well known type designer and graphic designer is also an influential essayist for the Emigre Magazine. Keedy worked with Emigre magazine for quite a few years contributing essay ideas. Keedy wrote about all kinds of design related topics, but one in particular is his take on Postmodernism and how that relates to graphic design. This article was written in 1998. In this article, Keedy discusses the ideas of modernism and postmodernism, and really differentiates between them for his readers. He puts modernism and postmodernism into simple terms, and describes why many designers tend to confuse the two concepts, and how each of them relate to graphic design. In this essay he discusses other designers and how their work also relates to the discipline. In Keedy’s display of how graphic design displays great amounts of post-modernistic ideals, he uses the example of his typefaces that he designed. He explains the process of creating the typeface, as well as why it ties into postmodernism instead of modernism, which is an interesting concept considering that many graphic designers neglect the idea of typography falling into any sort of postmodern relationship. At the end of his essay, Jeffery Keedy offers a critique of graphic designers of our generation. His critique is that “graphic designers are currently not up to the challenge… a few postmodern ideas like deconstruction, multiculturalism, complexity, pastiche, and critical theory could be useful to graphic designers if they could get beyond thinking about their work in terms of formal categories, technology, and media” (Keedy, Emigre).

While this is not the only essay that Jeffery Keedy contributed to the Emigre Magazine, it is still an interesting read. Keedy based this essay off of “lectures presented at FUSE 98, San Francisco, May 28, and The AIGA National Student Design Conference, CalArts, June 14, 1998″ (Keedy, Emigre).

Jeffery Keedy Postmodernism in collaboration with Emigre Magazine. Essay published in 1998



Fang, Mimi. Postmodernism, 2017,

Keedy, Jeffery. “Graphic Design in the Postmodern Era.” Emigre,

Poynor, Rick. “Eye Magazine.” Eye Magazine | Feature | Remove Specifics and Convert to Ambiguities,