While some design trends seem to have global reach, they way they are interpreted in different countries and through different cultural perspectives can differ greatly.During the Art Deco period – a roughly 20 year span from the late 1920s to the late 1940s – poster art was at (what can be argued) an all-time high in terms of prestige,presence and prolific output.
This happy shopping Belgian couple typifies so much of what is great about European Art Deco posters: bright, vibrant colors; strong lines, interesting and varied typography – the poster has got it all going on.
A few years go by, and an American artist named William Atherton provides his personal view of Art Deco design: strong in its own way, with a skewed, slightly off-kilter perspective, atypical colors, but undeniably Art Deco… (While we have the poster credited to the artist of record, Atherton, we did receive an email which indicates that there might be some doubt as to who, precisely, produced at least part of this work: “I thought you might like to know, this design for the 39 worlds fair was done by a man named Merrit Buckley from Crown Point Ind. He designed it for a competition for the worlds fair. He had polio, and was a cripple all of his life. He went on to be a draftsman, and worked all over the country. I have seen the award he received for this design. He died a few years ago , and was a family friend for 80 some years…”
Not to be outdone, on the other side of the planet, the Chinese were also producing huge numbers of posters – like this one for the races at Harbin, dated from 1938. Again, strong colors, interesting typography, and in this instance, a clear Soviet style influence (no surprise given the geography…)
Art Deco typography rules – it is clean, clear, precise, elegant, easy-to-read and not at all dated…
While our Art Deco posters are – at least to us! – the best way to collect Art Deco
design, the typefaces and fonts of the period also allow us to think of Charleston
Nights and dresses which swayed in the wind…