modernism & minimalism - 2 design philosophies that enforce the "less is more" principle in minimal wallet design

modernism & minimalism - 2 design philosophies that enforce the "less is more" principle in minimal wallet design
Authored By Terrence Kelleman

Before we jump into the "why and how" of Mighty Wallet's minimalist design it's helpful to understand how the word "minimalism" evolved out of modernism in contemporary design and architecture


My concept behind the first origami Tyvek® wallet was in essence a desire to create the most minimal wallet well before the trend in "minimalist wallets" was even a thing. 

The evolution of my Tyvek® wallet design was heavily influenced by the Modernist design I was seeing and photographing everyday at my day job at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

I started Dynomighty when I was still working at the Museum’s Design Store but even outside of MoMA I would be exposed to so many Modern Design influences.

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Even my walk to work went past a Mies van der Rohe building on Park Avenue (the Seagram Building) everyday. That building had such an audacity in a city where every square inch is maximized for its potential real estate value he did something nearly revolutionary, setting aside a huge swath of the property to a pink granite plaza entrance flanked by two large fountains. 

The plaza is minimal and austere setting up a powerful pause before one approaches the building and gazes skyward. That’s the power of minimalist design that Mies talked about in his quote of “God is in the details”.

Modernism in architecture & design refers to a movement that emerged in the early 20th century as a response to the industrial revolution and the changes in technology and society.

It emphasized the use of materials, such as steel and glass, and clean, simple lines. It also rejected traditional forms and ornamentation, in favor of a focus on function and a "form follows function" philosophy.

Minimalism, on the other hand, is a design style that emerged in the 1960s, and is characterized by the use of minimal elements, simple forms, and a focus on functionality and simplicity.

Minimalist designs often use a limited color palette and simple geometric shapes. The goal of minimalism is to highlight the essential elements of a design. You can see how these two concepts deeply influence each other. 

 

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As far as minimalist wallet design goes its borrowing from both these traditions but specifically focusing on the form as being the most minimal wallet by having less material and additive functions.

This minimalist design philosophy is why the Mighty Wallet really does stand apart from other minimal wallet designs because its form is essentially a single folded sheet of Tyvek®. 

It's origami design reinforces the inherent strength of the Tyvek material itself, doubling with each fold and there are no parts or pieces that can be removed or torn.

I never actually studied design, I was a Painting Major at cleveland institute of art, but I had a great appreciation for design. I loved modernist architecture and had a love for the concept of "form follows function" well before starting Dynomighty. 

Both modernism and minimalism share the same basic principle that less is more. They both focus on simplicity and functionality, and reject unnecessary ornamentation. Modernism is more focused on the new materials and technology and minimalism is more focused on simplicity and reducing the elements to the bare minimum.

Both of these design philosophies played a roll when I was experimenting with a sheet of Tyvek in my art studio many many years ago. 

What's fascinating to me is how these ideas have evolved and become part of our everyday vernacular around thin wallet design but so rarely does anyone pay tribute to this evolution of design philosophy. 

I'm so proud of the fact that this minimalist wallet design has stood the test of time since 2005 and it's incredible to me that Mighty Wallet was in many ways far ahead of the trend in minimalist wallets before that was even on the horizon. 


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