August 23, 2012 | by Liam

Graphic Design History – Art Deco

Art Deco is a design style that started in Paris during the 1920?s although it didn’t really take hold until after World War l during which time it flourished. This style influenced all areas of design including architecture, interior design, industrial design, fashion and jewelry, painting, graphic arts and film.


The term “Art Deco” was coined in 1966, after an exhibition in Paris, ‘Les Années 25? sub-titled Art Deco, celebrating the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts). The Art Deco style includes geometric shapes, chrome glass, shiny fabric and mirrors, stylised images of aeroplanes, cars, cruise liners and skyscrapers, nature motifs of shells, sunrises and flowers. This style represented elegance, glamour and functionality.


The most influential designer of the Art Deco period was A.M Cassandre and his advertising posters helped to define the Art Deco look and his illustrations are all based on geometric shapes. Cassandre believed in the integration of word and image and this process was an important contribution to graphic design. Cassandre defined a poster as “a means of communication between the seller and the public, somewhat like a telegraph. The poster designer is like a telephone operator: he does not draft messages, he dispatches them. No one asks him what he thinks; all he is asked to do is to communicate clearly, powerfully and precisely.” Art Deco slowly started to lose it’s backing in the West when it started to become mass produced and was considered to be gaudy and giving the impression of a false sense of luxury. The style eventually ended with the austerity measures of World War ll. There was a revival of interest  in the Art Deco style during the 1960?s then again during the 1980?s.


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