Monday, May 17, 2010
1960s | PSYCHEDELIA
The word ‘psychedelic’ means mind manifesting, thus, artistic efforts to depict the inner world of the psyche may be considered psychedelic. However Psychedelia refers above all to the art movement of the 1960s counterculture. Psychedelic arts were a counterpart to psychedelic rock music, and were initially used in concert poster design before quickly being applied to album covers, murals, comic books, fashion, and underground newspapers.
The 1960s brought the advent of fluorescent paints, which were used to achieve dazzling color effects; all of which introduced a new visual language of extreme color and kaleidoscopic space into contemporary culture. Breaking long-established conventions of graphic design with their twisting, melting and distorted forms, Psychedelia reflected not only the kaleidoscopically swirling patterns of LSD hallucinations, but also revolutionary political, social and spiritual sentiments inspired by insights derived from these psychedelic states of consciousness.
One of the characteristics of poster design in the Psychedelic era is that the lettering was often manipulated and distorted from its base forms. Fonts by their nature work most practically when they have a simple, horizontal base and characters have regular size and positioning. Richly saturated colors in glaring contrast, elaborately ornate lettering, strongly symmetrical composition, collage elements, and bizarre iconography are all hallmarks of the San Francisco psychedelic poster art style.
By the end of the decade, one did not have to consume drugs to encounter a "trip"; the psychedelic aesthetic was soon to be experienced in the mainstream via stage design for TV shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, and advertisers began to use the basics of psychedelic art to promote their products. These bright colors and swirling forms were considered appropriate for packaging various products.