We humans like to make our mark on the world: building structures, manufacturing products, creating systems both physical and virtual. When not a purely artistic endeavor, these works of ours usually bear the signs of a rational thought process, as opposed to the more organic evolutionary structures preferred by nature (see Naturalism). The hallmarks of rational thinking are all visual representations of geometric/mathematical principles: flat surfaces, straight or parallel lines, perfect circles and concentric arcs, and right angles. Specific elements are spaced out evenly; functional elements are isolated and located for maximum functionality; surface textures are consistent and uniformly perfect. Rationalism as an aesthetic movement has been a part of the human landscape since the dawn of time (when some primitive predecessor scratched the first straight line or circle in the sand), but was usually overshadowed by a heavy application of ornamental decoration. With the emergence of Minimalism in the 20th century, that ornamentation has been cleared away to reveal the perfect man-made objects that have come to define many design categories, from Architecture to Consumer Electronics. The Bauhaus movement was instrumental in introducing this aesthetic to mainstream culture, although only in the last decade has it reached all categories, and all cultures, around the world. Though related to Minimalism, Rationalism is more concerned with the maximizing of functionality, the minimizing of discord and chaos, and the expression of perfection. Concepts based off this movement will put a high priority on usability, intuitiveness, simplicity, manufacturability, and construction quality; as such these factors tend to make this visual theme associated with more premium products. Ironically,  this pursuit of perfection often comes at the expense of that other timeless human quality: the irrationality of emotions. In fact the tension between Rationalism and Irrationalism provide an ongoing aesthetic dialogue that fuels many of the visual themes that run through our culture.

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4 Comments to “RATIONALISM”

  1. Xi Yang says:

    Great examples. rationalism is all around us definately!

  2. AWOLtrends says:

    If you’re from an Asian country Xi, (and I’m making a huge stereotypical assumption based on your name), send us some photo examples of Rationalism in your region!
    -AWOL Trends

  3. Fernando Pardo says:

    Andy…..lovn’ Awol Trends. You’re the man! Fantastic