(left to right) a Deco-inspired ring; necklace; headphonesArt Deco posters
The movie poster (below) for Baz Luhrmann’s new cinematic imagining of The Great Gatsby sports a very heavy Art Deco look.
Last, but certainly not least, Art Deco has made an incredible impact on typography. A.M. Cassandre’s Bifur typeface, composed of thick base forms ornamented with thin filler lines, is nothing short of brilliant. Broadway and Peignot are two other Deco typefaces we see all the time.
In the case of Art Deco, vintage and modern expertly coalesce to create a bold, classic look. Consider the Art Deco’s aesthetic to convey sleek and chic style, and play on our fascination with classic design that has a contemporary, futuristic flair.
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(clockwise from left) Bifur, Peignot and Broadway typefacesSeen any other designs inspired by Art Deco? Share in the comments!
These movements coalesced to form a new international style known as Art Deco, derived from Art Décoratifs, an abbreviated form of the 1925 World’s Fair in Paris, the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.
Now a century later, Art Deco has made a comeback in graphic design. We can see the contemporary use of Art Deco style advertising in companies like Speakeasy Brewing Co., in movies like Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, in TV shows like “Boardwalk Empire,” in typefaces like Chicago, Showtime, and Bifur, and in logos created by the global design community of 99designs.
L’Atlantique by A.M. Cassandre and Clipper 314, by Michael KunglNord Express and Pivolo, by A.M. Cassandre
Deco is a strong, beautiful style. Here is the history you need to know, to do it right.
After WWI, advertisement posters also shifted from flowing, floral illustration to streamlined, geometric graphic design. Strong diagonals and dynamic typefaces demonstrated the desire for glamour, power, luxury and strength.
Poster for The Great Gatsby, 2012, and the cover of Vogue magazine, November 1926, by Guillermo BolinArt Deco logo
Art Deco, a term first coined in Paris in 1925, is a hard style to define. We can list its typical attributes – geometric shapes, bold curves, strong vertical lines, aerodynamic forms, motion lines, airbrushing and sunbursts galore – but this really does not do justice to the style. Memorize this list alone, and your design may still miss the Deco spirit.
For that, a greater context is required. So let’s take a visual tour of the 1910s, 20s and 30s – the cultural milieu in which Deco took form.
(clockwise from left) Table by a Window, 1917, a cubist painting by Jean Metzinger; the 20th Century Ltd. locomotive, designed by Henry Dreyfuss, 1938; New York City’s Times Square in 1927
The vintage design revolution is upon us! And it’s influencing everything from fashion to art to architectural design. With pop-goes-vintage music groups like Postmodern Jukebox and historical dramas like Downton Abbey engaging audiences worldwide, the Roaring 20s are making a big comeback. Of course, Art Deco is following suit.
The architectural and ornamental motifs noted below take new form in this selection of Deco-inspired jewelry and a sweet pair of headphones
All old styles are destined to become cool again eventually. Good designers know this and great designers know how to work it. The call for “retro” has maybe never been louder than it is now and with the roaring 1920s taking culture by storm these days (Downton Abbey on TV, The Great Gatsby soon in theaters), we’re thinking Art Deco will be making a serious comeback in graphic design.
Art Deco has come to represent cosmopolitanism and the ultramodern, and Art Deco advertisements, in particular, present products and services in a striking, futurist light. The style’s influence also spread internationally, and in Japan, came to typify Western influence and the boldness of the modern era.
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Art Deco’s bold lines, geometric shapes and modern aesthetic represented luxury, glamour and technological prowess during the wartime and post-wartime era.
Note the imposing power of the ship in “L’Atlantique,” the cubist and futurist inspiration in the posters for “Nord Express” and “Clipper 314,” and the flat geometric quality to Cassandre’s Pivolo ad — perhaps the most famous Art Deco poster of all time.
(clockwise from left) Chrystler Building elevator interior; an art deco entrance façade; Radio City Music Hall interiorArt Deco objects
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Before Art Deco, the leading decorative style around the world was Art Nouveau. Developed in the 1890s, Art Nouveau is characterized by soft curves and a flowery, ornate style that imitates the beauty of nature—a stark contrast to the harsh industrialization of the day. Illustrations like Alphonse Mucha’s (below) often feature beautiful young women, flowering haloes and neoclassical robes that came to typify the Art Nouveau style.
Logo for The Nautilus Napier hotel, by Mel Gardner; logos for Miami Aesthetic Surgery and Stone Art by GDSArt Deco on 99designs
Logo designs by Firekarma (left) and The13thDesign (right)Logo designs by sterling cooper and dialfredoWeb design by tockicaDeco typography
New York’s Radio City Music Hall (below) is one big sunburst. The elevator in the Chrysler building is a collection of geometric shapes, curves, metal embellishments and vertical lines. The doorway façade top right is Deco at its most powerful… and slightly gaudy.
Today, Art Deco makes frequent appearances in the world of logo design. Just look at the verticality, sunbursts, airbrush effects and typeface choices in the below three designs.
Take, for example, A.M. Cassandre, the father of Machine Age poster style. He popularized airbrushing techniques that give a machine-like surface to his images and revolutionized design for years to come. In fact, his iconic Art Deco posters are highly sought after, even today.
Looking for more Art Deco advert inspiration? Check out 99designs Discover for more stunning examples from our global design community.
Art Deco paved the way for post-World War II 1950s Object Poster Style, in which everyday objects became giant icons used to emphasize advertised products. Characteristic of Object Poster Style advertisements, Peter Birkhauser’s “Feba Pen” poster puts a dramatic zoom on the tip of a fountain pen with severe clarity, captivating focus and bold effect. In the subsequent decades, advertising styles that emphasized consumer goods faded, particularly during the 1960s counterculture movement, which harkened back to Art Nouveau’s penchant for free form.
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Art Deco is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that developed into an international design movement in the 1920s and 30s. Let’s take a look at its trajectory through history, the echoes of which still resound today.
Naturally, 99ers have made some pretty AWESOME Deco-inspired logos as well. At this point, the Deco-ness of the following designs should not require explanation.
We move from architecture to graphic design with French designer A.M. Cassandre, its unparalleled leader.
Art Nouveau lasted until the turn of the early 20th century, when World War I helped accelerate an increasingly industrial and progressive Western society. With the onset of war and rise of industrialization came modern art movements: Cubism, characterized by works like Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles D Avignon and architecture like Raymond Duchamp-Villon’s La Masion Cubiste; Futurism, as portrayed in paintings like Giacomo Balla’s Abstract Speed + Sound and Umberto Boccioni’s The City Rises; and Constructivist art, which depicted the bold wording and stark geometry of Bolshevik Revolutionary war propaganda.
Note the strong vertical lines in Singapore’s Parkview building, the sunburst facade of New York City’s famed Chrysler building — the peak of Art Deco architecture — and the metallic embellishments on this building on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Art Deco manifested in graphic design with images of industry, like colossal ocean liners with sleek, airbrushed surfaces that emulate steel and chrome plating. The style is represented in architectural icons like the Chrysler Building and the American Radiator building. They are constructed with an exterior of reinforced concrete and an interior of highly polished marble, glass and steel.
The Roaring 20s was a time of rapid cultural change. Transportation technologies (cars, trains, planes) were getting faster, buildings taller, cities more packed. It was also a time of incredible wealth, especially in the United States. The result of all this was a feeling of dizzying fragmentation, which you’ll see in the cubist and futurist artwork of the time, paired with an obsession with luxury, speed and power.
(left to right) Parkview Building, photo by Razmataz’; Chrysler Building façade, photo by François Hogue; a building on Hollywood Boulevard, photo by daryl_mitchellArt Deco patterns
More than just a style, the Art Deco aesthetic reflects the major cultural shifts happening between the 1920s to 40s, when metalworking machinery and freight locomotives started changing the world. This era, known as the Machine Age, was characterized by mass production, automobile assembly lines, high speed printing presses, the nationwide distribution of goods and modern aircrafts & battleships. Likewise, in Art Deco, shapes became simplified and streamlined. Strong vertical lines and aerodynamic forms mirrored skyscraper steel beams. Airbrushing effects and sunbursts evoked wartime machinery. Sleek and angular typefaces reflected a Jazz Age gleam.