By Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with more than 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.
At HWDS we often draw inspiration for our designs from the art deco architecture of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Its craft motif style drew from the age of machinery and features symmetrically designed patterns of geometric shapes and intricate ornamentation. Repetition of graphical shapes is a key element of the art deco architectural movement. Colors often consist of pastels including pinks and teals as well as the use of silver and platinum. Its rich patterning of repetitive lines and shapes make it the source of wonderful elements for logo design and border treatments.
Here you will find some samples of art deco architecture, most notably seen in the Chrysler building, far right, in New York City.
A great place to see art deco architecture is South Beach, Florida. South Beach, also known as SoBe is actually a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach. It probably has the largest number of remaining art deco buildings in the United States. Certainly it has the largest number of art deco hotels in the northern hemisphere. The repeating shapes founds in some of these building can be wonderful elements for corporate logo designs. A spectacular book of SoBe architecture is Deco Delights, Preserving the Beauty and Joy of Miami Beach Architecture by Barbara Baer Capitman with photographs by Steven Brooke. Prints from the book are available at Steven Brooke’s website.
Other examples of art deco architecture can be seen in intricate mosaic patterns in the architecture of Europe where majestic fortresses were built with curved plaster patterns.
Art deco typically uses these design elements:
1) Symmetry—A very symmetrical, balanced design resonates through the architecture. Doors and windows are arrayed uniformly, cohesively and identically throughout the structure.
2) Lines—Beautiful, strong lines flow though the exterior of the structure and often serve as a decorative motif. These can often be seen in balconies and the fascia of the building. Often these lines are decorated with bands of silver metal or platinum.
3) Repetition—Geometric shapes and lines are echoed throughout the building and often repeated several times. These can be both in the exterior and interior of the structure. This repetition can also be seen in doorways, windows, balconies and decorative elements.
4) Rhythm—Here decorative elements are arranged in a symphonic harmony. The art deco era is characteristic of a style with incredible energy with bold colorful, geometric shapes and intense rhythm where the repetition of elements crates an atmospheric harmony throughout the building.
5) Pattern—Art deco structures frequently have patterns of mosaics, waves and symmetry arrayed in the design.
6) Color—Art deco architecture frequently used light neutral colors with the addition of silver and gold accents that were combined with sand, gray, beige and peach walls. Pastels were also frequently used.