Some memphis design from dribbble

Certain movements in the world of design leave a lasting impression, challenging conventions and pushing the boundaries of creativity. Memphis design, an influential style that emerged in the 1980s, is one such movement. Memphis design styles, known for its bold colors, geometric shapes, and playful patterns, took the design world by storm and continues to inspire artists and designers to this day. In this blog post, we will look at the Memphis design movement’s origins, key characteristics, impact on the design industry, and some striking examples of this distinct style.

1. The origins of Memphis Design

Ettore Sottsass, an Italian designer, founded the Memphis design movement in 1981. The movement, named after Bob Dylan’s song “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” sought to depart from the minimalist and functional design of the time. Memphis design took a more eclectic and expressive approach, incorporating elements from Art Deco, Pop Art, and even kitsch.

2. Key characteristics of Memphis Design

Memphis design is well-known for its distinct characteristics that set it apart from other design styles. Some of the key features are as follows:

  • Bold Colors: Memphis design is all about vibrant and contrasting colors. Often, you’ll find bold blocks of color placed next to each other, creating a visually striking effect.
  • Geometric Shapes: The use of geometric shapes is prominent in Memphis design. Squares, circles, triangles, and zigzags are frequently employed to create a sense of dynamism and playfulness.
  • Asymmetry: Breaking away from traditional design norms, Memphis style embraces asymmetry, giving it an offbeat and unconventional appeal.
  • Patterns and Textures: Memphis design is never shy of patterns and textures. From abstract squiggles to animal prints, these elements add a layer of whimsy and excitement to the overall composition.

3. Influence of Memphis Design on the Industry

Memphis design was met with both admiration and controversy when it first appeared on the scene. Its departure from the sleek and minimalistic aesthetics of the time polarized opinions. Nonetheless, its influence on the design industry was undeniable. 

Memphis design challenged established norms and encouraged designers to experiment with color, form, and materials. It sparked a creative wave that rippled through various creative fields, from interior design and architecture to fashion and graphic design.

Furthermore, the movement’s emphasis on individuality and self-expression paved the way for the postmodern design era. Memphis design freed designers from rigid rules and allowed them to infuse their personalities into their creations.

4. Memphis Design examples

Let’s explore some striking examples of Memphis design:

Back to the 90’s is a vector illustration created by Gaspart, a designer who specializes in vector illustrations made with love. The illustration features a woman wearing a retro outfit and roller skates, surrounded by geometric shapes and patterns in bold colors.


Back to the 90 shot with memphis design styles
Back to the 90’s 🕶️ by Gaspart on Dribbble


Kollektif Branding showcases the branding work done for a Turkish-based creative agency called Kollektif. The project includes the design of a new logo, typography, color scheme, and other visual elements that were used to create a cohesive brand identity. The elements of design highlight the use of patterns and textures

Kollektif Branding with memphis design styles

5. Is it still relevant today?

One might wonder if Memphis design styles is still relevant in today’s design landscape, decades after its inception. The answer is a resounding yes! While the movement peaked in the 1980s, its influence can still be found in modern design.

Memphis design’s exuberant and daring elements inspire many contemporary designers. Its irreverence and willingness to take risks appeal to those seeking to break free from convention and explore new creative horizons.

In conclusion, memphis design is an iconic movement that, with its boldness and creativity, revolutionized the design industry. Ettore Sottsass and his talented team of designers left an enduring legacy, encouraging us to embrace individuality and the unconventional. Memphis design serves as a timeless reminder that great design knows no bounds as we continue to push the boundaries of design. So, whether you are exploring retro aesthetics or planning a modern project, consider incorporating a touch of Memphis to infuse your creations with vibrant energy and liveliness.