The design of De Stijl is also representative of one type of avant-garde letterpress printing, the use of standard types, ornaments, and rules in new dramatic combinations. Some contemporary designers were dogmatic in wanting to develop their new, abstract language out of the everyday elements of an average printer's typecase, thus showing how beauty can be found in the most mundane aspects of the modern world. Van Doesburg had first used this technique in the third volume of De Stijl, when he had published an article that mixed different type sizes in order to create visual and conceptual emphasis.
While Mondrian's work adhered to the strict principles of Neo-Plasticism, Van Doesburg sought to broaden the movement's research projects into architecture, reconceiving the entire living environment. A De Stijl picture represented a fragment of a larger project concerning space: the house as an interior space, and the city as an assembly of houses. The austere forms of De Stijl were well suited to the geometric structures favored by the International Modernist movement, while the primary colors favored by the painters could be used as decorative elements to articulate an otherwise plain facade. The principles of De Stijl art and design exerted tremendous influence on the Bauhaus Style in Germany in the 1920s, and after Mondrian's immigration to New York in 1940, the U.S.A.
The phenomenon we call "De Stijl" was not an organized movement but a frequently changing collection of artists who rarely if ever met each other and never exhibited together. What connected them and gave them the semblance of a common direction was the magazine De Stijl and the driving personality of its founder and editor, the painter and writer Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931).
A magazine called De Stijl, published between 1917 and 1932, presented the movement's works and theoretical foundations to an international readership. In the magazine Mondrian wrote, "The pure plastic vision should build a new society, in the same way that in art it has built a new plasticism." Hiss article, "The New Plastic in Painting", best expresses their ideas for reduction of form and simplistic abstraction: "The new plastic art...can only be based on the abstraction of all form and color, i.e. the straight line and the clearly defined primary color" (Lemoine, 1987, p.29).
De Stijl’s most outstanding painter was Mondrian, whose art was rooted in the mystical ideas of Theosophy. Although influenced by his contact with Analytical Cubism in Paris before 1914, Mondrian thought that it had fallen short of its goal by not having developed toward pure abstraction, or, as he put it, “the expression of pure plastics” (which he later called Neoplasticism). In his search for an art of clarity and order that would also express his religious and philosophical beliefs, Mondrian eliminated all representational components, reducing painting to its elements: straight lines, plane surfaces, rectangles, and the primary colours (red, yellow, and blue) combined with neutrals (black, gray, and white). Van Doesburg, who shared Mondrian’s austere principles, launched the group’s periodical, De Stijl (1917–32), which set forth the theories of its members.
During the Immature period the artists displayed mainly paintings and sculpture. They formed together to create the De Stijl magazine. Their most famous and critically acclaimed works were produced in the mature period of De Stijl. Many critics would say that their other periods didn't portray the same level of prestige as the mature period of De Stijl. By this time Bart Van Der Leck had resigned. The movement started to radically transform, Theo Van Doesburg collaborated with Eliezar Lissitzky and toured many showings all hugely successful. The final stage witnessed the deterioration of the De Stijl movement and witnessed Piet Mondrian resigning his post after a confrontation with Theo Van Doesburg. De Stijl started to become inconsistent and lost character and attractiveness in its appearance. Even the most supportive art critics started to criticise the De Stijl movement due to these inconsistencies.
In the early 1920's a group of architects and artists, influenced by some of the ideas of DaDa, formed a movement called de Stijl (Dutch for The Style). Theirs was a utopian philosophical approach to aesthetics, centered in a publication called de Stijl, which presented their ideas and designs. The founder of the publication and leader of the group was Theo van Doesburg, an architect. Other important participants were Gerrit Rietveld and Piet Mondrian.
De Stijl, ( Dutch: “The Style”) “Card Players” group of Dutch artists in Amsterdam in 1917, including the painters Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, and Vilmos Huszár, the architect Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, and the poet A. Kok; other early associates of De Stijl were Bart van der Leck, Georges Vantongerloo, Jan Wils, and Robert van’t Hoff. Its members, working in an abstract style, were seeking laws of equilibrium and harmony applicable both to art and to life.
If there was one single feature that distinguished De Stijl from other competing versions of modernism in the Netherlands it was the consistent promotion of geometric abstract art. The claim was repeatedly made in the journal by different contributors that painting was reaching a point of self-purification ahead of all other practices and was the model to be followed, particularly by architecture. Only once architecture had gone through a similar process of reduction to its essential nature could it be reintegrated with painting to produce a properly modern monumental form, and a similar process was also predicted for sculpture and literature.
The architecture of the De Stijl artists was made up of geometric shapes including sphere shaped windows and triangular chairs. Both their art and architecture was considered very radical and even to nowadays standard would seem radical. However the architecture that they produced was incredibly successful. Colour wise, the De Stijl artists used primary and bold colours which creates a very striking look and style.