What is surrealism and how can it inspire your future designs?

Summary/Overview

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Surrealism has become a dominating style of art in the modern landscape, but its origins dates back decades. This dreamlike movement has influenced great painters and sculptors, and could add real value to your designs.

Surrealism has continuously evolved since its origins, but the core principles of the art form have remained the same. Regardless of how modern artists experiment within this field, those major components of this approach to stunning visual storytelling could be critical to building your brand or project.

Learn more with Adobe Express UK and dive into the world of surrealism.

The origins of the movement.

Surrealism first emerged in the 1920s, with the majority of the movement shaped by the First World War. It was André Breton who is widely credited with bringing the ideas of surrealism into a single school of thought, with the art form finding a base in Paris and spreading across Europe.

The political and artistic movement was designed as a form of expression. It encouraged artists to draw from the subconscious minds, creating art that reflected something a little more unconventional, much like abstract art. Surrealism allowed for emotions to be painted and subjects to be analysed from new angles. Ultimately, surrealist art was there to be enjoyed, but most importantly, pondered over in detail.

Key characteristics.

You’re sure to be asking about what is surrealism in its most fundamental form? These characteristics should help to identify surrealism in its many iterations.

Unpredictable shapes.

Surrealism looks at shape in unconventional ways. It depicts normal objects in a manner that almost look paradoxical to the subject itself. Melting lines, a lack of geometric shapes, and an absence of pattern can sometimes make surrealist art seem rather unstructured.

Imaginary imagery.

Abstract and bizarre imagery dominates the surrealism movement, with imaginative artworks drawn straight from the subconscious influencing the rest of the style. Humans out of proportion, objects not in their natural environment and strange settings all contribute to surrealism.

Illusions.

Optical illusion art plays with the eye and tricks the mind into seeing something that isn’t there. While not as technically proficient, surrealism art does utilise some of the techniques of illusions, creating images that are not quite as they appear. The human body is often the subject of these illusions.

Muted colour combinations.

While more modern art styles like pop art seek to rely on bold colours, the palette of surrealism can be somewhat muted. What’s more, the colours chosen for a work don’t always match with the scene depicted. It wouldn’t be surprising to see blue grass or a purple sea, as the artist surreally expresses themselves.

Editable templates for your surrealist projects.

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How to implement it in Adobe Express?

It’s time to put these incredible effects into use using Adobe Express UK. Here’s a couple of ways to do so.

Use unpredictable shapes in your cards.

Cards can be quite conventional, but you will want to draw from unusual sources to create a design that has meaning and can stand against the competition. Craft cards using Adobe Express UK’s free templates that boast unusual, patternless shapes for that surrealism art edge.

Create presentations with abstract imagery.

Abstract imagery can sometimes put your point across better than you’re able to, as it engages your audience and forces them to think about the image. Take abstract pictures and apply them to your presentations, to create a mood or tone that best suits your project, using Adobe Express’ easy to use presentation templates.

Place an illusion on your business card.

You’ve seen every type of business card under the sun, but how often do you come across one with an optical illusion? Whether it’s in your logo or your background, interact with your audience by creating a business card, using the Adobe Express UK templates, that tricks the eye.

Craft a flyer with an unusual colour palette.

Flyers can be packed with information, telling the audience, when and where an event is happening, or perhaps what a brand is all about. Contrasting colours and an unusual, muted palette, could provide a good way of organising that information in an aesthetically pleasing way. Use Adobe Express’s free flyer templates and the convert to JPG image feature to curate a perfect design with the right pictures.

Build your own surrealism-inspired designs with templates from Adobe Express.

Tasks
Topics
surrealism
Q

Template IDs

(To pull in manually curated templates if needed)

Orientation


(Horizontal/Vertical)

Vertical

Width


(Full, Std, sixcols)

sixcols

Limit


(number of templates to load each pagination. Min. 5)

6
Animated
All

Sort

Most Viewed

Rare & Original

Newest to Oldest

Oldest to Newest

Most Viewed
Locales
EN

Premium


(true, false, all) true or false will limit to premium only or free only.

all

Examples of previous work.

The Persistence of Memory.

Salvador Dalí’s 1931 masterpiece, The Persistence of Memory, is still held up as a beautiful example of surrealism in action. Depicting melting clocks on a barren landscape, the painting is thematically powerful and abstract in its ideas.

Harlequin’s Carnival.

Joan Miró crafted the gorgeous oil painting Harlequin’s Carnival across 1924 and 1925. The piece is chaotic and untamed, with plenty of powerful imagery linking back to the circus premise. Brimming with unusual shapes and subjects, this is a master class in the imaginary.

I Saw Three Cities.

Kay Sage took on the challenge of I Saw Three Cities in 1944, painting a piece of contrasts with a harsh background framed by a flowing, humanoid shape. The almost apocalyptic landscape is mysterious and somehow grounded, in a painting undoubtedly influenced by World War II.

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Useful things to know.

Are there notable artists from the surrealism movement?

Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso are just a couple of the major names that shaped the surrealism art movement.

Are there any surrealist museums?

Absolutely. To gain more inspiration for your designs, you can visit any number of surrealist museums, including the National Galleries of Scotland: Modern One in the UK.

Does surrealism art have any rules?

Surrealism is shaped by a lack of structure. The only rule is to draw from the imagination and to not simply paint what’s right in front of you.

Is Adobe Express UK free to use?

It sure is! Adobe Express UK is free to use and boasts plenty of templates and features that are intuitive and easy to access.