I was going to write about this exact thing but I found this article on the 2Modern design blog and felt there was no reason to paraphrase another good blog. I think it's worth reading, especially since I ask myself this question often.
Modern vs. Contemporary
There is a little debate going on here that I thought I would throw some commentary on:
What is the definition of MODERN vs the definition of CONTEMPORARY?
MODERN: from the dictionary:
adjective:Characteristic or expressive of recent times or the present; contemporary or up-to-date: a modern lifestyle; a modern way of thinking.noun:One who lives in modern times.
So...by definition, anything that is of current time, is modern. So isn't everything contemporary then modern because it is of "modern time"...aka "now"? Well, no, not really...because just because it is "new", doesn't mean that it is "modern".
Why is it that classic "modern" design is defined by some as "modern" and new design is considered "contemporary"?
Is the term "modern" forever frozen in mid 20th century?
CONTEMPORARY: from the dictionary:
adjective1. Belonging to the same period of time: a fact documented by two contemporary sources.2. Of about the same age.3. Current; modern
Now I am confused..."modern" is listed under "Contemporary" and "contemporary" is listed under "Modern".
Now..."Modernism" of course is something a bit different. That term often refers to the movement from traditional forms within the art, design, architecture and literature during the 20th century.
Is it fair to say that "Modern" should be the phrase that refers to any contemporary design that is moving away from traditional forms of design? If that is the case, when does the old guard of "Modern" become more stale and traditional and the new designers of current times become more "Modern" based on the definition?
I guess there will always be "Classic Modern" defining the innovative design from the past and "Modern" which refers to "Contemporary Modern" design of now (and the future).