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Richard Redgrave's Supplementary Report on Design (1852) analysed the principles of design and ornament and pleaded for "more logic in the application of decoration." Other works followed in a similar vein: Wyatt's Industrial Arts of the Nineteenth Century (1853), Gottfried Semper's Wissenschaft, Industrie und Kunst ("Science, Industry and Art") (1852), Ralph Wornum's Analysis of Ornament (1856), Redgrave's Manual of Design (1876) and Jones's Grammar of Ornament (1856). must be secondary to the thing decorated", that there must be "fitness in the ornament to the thing ornamented", and that wallpapers and carpets must not have any patterns "suggestive of anything but a level or plain".Where a fabric or wallpaper in the Great Exhibition might be decorated with a natural motif made to look as real as possible, these writers advocated flat and simplified natural motifs.

By 1855 they had discovered Ruskin and, believing there to be a contrast between the barbarity of contemporary art and the painters preceding Raphael (1483-1530), they formed themselves into the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to pursue their artistic aims.They thought of 'the craftsman' as free, creative, and working with his hands, 'the machine' as soulless, repetitive, and inhuman.These contrasting images derive in part from John Ruskin's (1819-1900) The Stones of Venice, an architectural history of Venice that contains a powerful denunciation of modern industrialism to which Arts and Crafts designers returned again and again. Benson, Machinery, and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain" William Morris advocated production by traditional craft methods but was inconsistent in his view of what place machinery should play. Ashbee, for example, a central figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement, shared Morris's ambivalence.a tendency that became routine with Ruskin, Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement.His book Contrasts (1836) drew examples of bad modern buildings and town planning in contrast with good medieval examples, and his biographer Rosemary Hill notes that in it he "reached conclusions, almost in passing, about the importance of craftsmaship and tradition in architecture that it would take the rest of the century and the combined efforts of Ruskin and Morris to work out in detail." She describes the spare furnishings he specified for a building in 1841—"rush chairs, oak tables"—as "the Arts and Crafts interior in embryo." The Arts and Crafts philosophy derived in large measure from John Ruskin's social criticism, which related the moral and social health of a nation to the qualities of its architecture and to the nature of work.

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