Clarity- modernism and the chase for the Crystal goblet

Beatris Warde said that the person that chose the Crystal goblet was a Modernist. I think that self proclaimed modernist Wim Crouwel would agree with her- “I am always interested in Clarity; It should be clear; It should be readable; It should be straight forward” -(Helvetica by Hustwit 2007) It is the word clarity. By ‘straight forward’ I think he means the message must be clear. He emphasises the difference from legibility by stating ‘readable’. But he uses the umbrella word ‘clarity’ and ‘clear’. I believe that this could be the same goblet that Warde was talking about in 1955. Is it too much to believe that to an extent; all modernists are chasing the crystal goblet in their designs? Chasing Clarity. I don’t think that it is. And I also believe that it is this fact, that makes the modernist design so successful. Example; Massimo Vignelli designed The American Airline logo in 1966. And if I’m not mistaken; this logo is still in use today. 44 years of use! I dream About that kind of success in a design.

I think that the modernist ideals that warde puts forward in the crystal goblet; that “the first thing he asked of his particular object was not ‘how should it look?’ but ‘what must it do ?’” are correct and this is why modernist design is successful. Because in effect; success is what it is designed for, not just to look good.

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