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Neubrutalism, also spelt Nu-Brutalism, Neo Brutalism, and alternatively referred to as Neo Memphis, is a design aesthetic that focuses on breaking the traditional conventions of design by using unconventional visual elements, such as contrasting color palettes and grotesque typefaces.

History[]

Neubrutalism's namesake originates from the architectural movement Brutalism, which utilized unpainted concrete and geometric designs, favoring functionality over conventional aesthetic standards; Brutalism was minimalist, utilitarian, monochrome in nature. Although Brutalism and Neubrutalism are very different visually, they both share the core value of breaking the conventions of design and create visuals in their most basic shapes and forms.

The earliest example of the Neubrutalist movement can be traced as back to the Early/Mid-2010s, but the aesthetic that is commonly recognized as Neubrutalism would not form until the Late-2010s/Early-2020s, when it started to become more widespread. In 2022, Neubrutalism became mainstream within UI/UX and graphic design, with websites, apps, and advertisement adopting the aesthetic.

Visuals[]

Neubrutalism's visuals focus on defying the traditional principles of design. This is contrast to Flat Design, which focuses on conforming to the traditional conventions of design. However, Neubrutalism and Flat Design both share the common purpose of easing accessibility and improving functionality.

Neubrutalism's key visual motifs include:

  • Geometric blocks
  • Contrasting and off-putting color palettes
  • Unusual and grotesque typography
  • Stretched typefaces
  • Uppercase lettering
  • Hard 45º angled shadows
  • Dark outlines
  • Oversized UI/UX
  • Illustrations and static animations
  • Pseudo-3D objects
  • The lack of gradients or other visual effects
  • Random or inconsistent layout

Neubrutalism is also heavily driven by 1990s and Early-2000s nostalgia, especially driven by Memphis Design and Old Web, which both share visual motifs with Neubrutalism such as geometric shapes, zig-zagged lines, graph paper grids, computer windows/tabs and icons, and Y2K Futurism inspired imagery.

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