DRB4: Brutalist/punk/anti/anarchic design

Brutalism Printable Digital Poster by The Rrrabbit

Piazza Matteotti, Livorno

Brutalismo is a poster series of Italian brutalist architecture by Peter Chadwick

Fiera District, Bologna

Brutalismo is a poster series of Italian brutalist architecture by  Peter Chadwick

Peter Chadwick’s Beautiful Brutalist Car Park

Brutalism is a style of architecture and graphic design that emerged in the mid-20th century. It is characterized by its use of raw concrete, geometric shapes, and a lack of ornamentation. The name “brutalism” comes from the French word for raw concrete, “béton brut.”

In architecture, brutalism was popularized by architects such as Le Corbusier and Paul Rudolph. It was often used for government buildings, universities, and other public structures. The style was seen to express the strength and permanence of these institutions.

In graphic design, brutalism is characterized by its use of bold typography, simple layouts, and a lack of embellishment. It is often associated with the punk and DIY movements of the 1970s and 80s. Today, brutalism continues to be used in both architecture and graphic design, although it is often controversial due to its stark and imposing appearance.

According to Sharné McDonald: “Based on the philosophy of Brutalism in architecture and art, we can point out an aesthetic style applied to graphic design and digital design that can be called Brutalism:

  • A strong concept that breaks out from traditional or popular design trends
  • Modularity or repetition of design elements
  • Rough, unfinished, or “draft” look
  • A play in texture and scale
  • Simple, heavy sans-serif fonts, often capitalized
  • Using typography as a structural element
  • The strategic use of white space and bold colours
  • A mixture of black-and-white photography with graphic elements
  • An underlying Pop aesthetic
  • Staying true to the material and application of the design. “

Brutalism in graphic design is a style that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. It is characterized by its raw, unpolished aesthetic, often featuring simple geometric shapes and bold typography. This style was popularized by designers such as Paul Rand and Massimo Vignelli.

One of the key features of brutalism in graphic design is its rejection of traditional design principles. Rather than focusing on creating a polished, refined look, brutalist designers prioritize functionality and simplicity. This often results in designs that are stark and unadorned, but highly effective at conveying information.

Despite its name is not intended to be harsh or aggressive. Instead, it is a celebration of the beauty of simplicity and the power of clear communication. Today, it continues to be a popular style among designers who value clarity and functionality over ornamentation and excess.

Anti-design is a movement that rejects the idea of design as a purely aesthetic pursuit. Instead, anti-designers aim to create objects that are functional and practical, without any unnecessary embellishments. This movement emerged in the 1960s and was influenced by the ideas of the Bauhaus school of design. Anti-designers believe that good design should be accessible to everyone and should serve a purpose beyond just looking good.

Anarchic design is a style that embraces chaos and disorder. It is characterized by its lack of rules and disregard for traditional design principles. Anarchic designers often use unconventional materials and techniques to create their work. This style emerged in the 1990s and was influenced by the punk rock movement. Anarchic design is often seen as a rebellion against the mainstream design industry and its focus on commercialism.


Peter Chadwick is an accomplished art director and tutor in graphic design and communication at Chelsea College of Arts. Based in London, he is passionate about all things concrete and modern, particularly Brutalism.

With years of experience in the field, Chadwick has become an expert in his craft. He brings his unique perspective to his teaching, inspiring his students to explore new ideas and push the boundaries of design.

Chadwick’s love of Brutalism is evident in his work, which often incorporates the style’s signature concrete and geometric shapes. He is a true visionary in the world of graphic design and an asset to the creative community.

From a young age, he was passionate about concrete and industrial landscapes. Growing up in the late 1970s in Middlesbrough, where then British Steel and the ICI chemical plant dominated the city’s skyline served as a regular source of inspiration for both his work as a graphic designer and his photography of Brutalist architecture.

Chadwick’s work has been seen in magazines worldwide, and he has exhibited in the UK, Europe, and Asia. With over 25 years of industry experience, he has worked with clients and major recording artists including Primal Scream, Beth Orton, Groove Armada, Defected, Ministry of Sound, Harvey Nichols, and Paul Smith.

Images designed by me

My first reinterpretation of the design of the rabbit poster design I have used repetition of elements, the colour palette is a mix of white and black, it has a simple and rough look.

The second design I made in illustrator using bold colours and negative space. There is a play on scale and the characteristic concrete and geometric buildings for the style.

The third design was inspired by the Brutalismo series that was posted on Twitter in 2014. We have a black and white communist brutalist building located in Belgrade, Serbia. The image has texture and graphic elements that are characteristic of its style.

The last design I reinterpreted was again inspired by Chadwick. Here I have used an emblematic monument of the Communist era in Bulgaria called Buzludzha. Again, the image is black and white with texture. Graphic geometric elements are used, as well as white space is quite a bit more.

The Rrrabbit. (2023) Brutalism Printable Digital Poster [Blog post]. The Rrrabbit. Available online:

BRUTALISM PRINTABLE DIGITAL POSTER – THE RRRABBIT (rrrabbitblog.com) [Accessed 15/4/2023].


Yen Pham. (2018) Graphic brutality: posters of Italian brutalist architecture – in pictures [Blog post]. The Guardian. 10 March. Available online:

Graphic brutality: posters of Italian brutalist architecture – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian [Accessed 15/4/2023].


Peter Chadwick. (2017) Brutalism is a beautiful thing [Blog post]. Parking Review. 10 May. Available online:

Brutalism is a beautiful thing (transportxtra.com) [Accessed 15/4/2023].


Sharné McDonald. (2022) Brutally Honest: Brutalist Graphic Design History and Trends [Blog post]. Vectornator. 8 June. Available online:

Brutally Honest: Brutalist Graphic Design History And Trends (vectornator.io) [Accessed 15/4/2023].