Monday, May 17, 2010


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.!lectures/history/1960/psychedelia.html


  1. Nice post. I would not buy my drugs from the guy in the first poster though.(he he)
    Geourgous Bob Dylan poster.

  2. The Grateful Dead always had some WICKED art for flyers or posters to invite u 2come rock out with them and possibly get dosed for free cus LSD wasnt illegal!! Those dudes back then new what was up.Cus trippen BALLs isnt for everybody n these dudes had it like we have ganja!!!Theres still some cool stoner,psychadelic art of there.. I'd def check out!! But some try to come close n try to be another version of the Dead but im cool hanging out trying to like Phish r who ever else..Phish is cool from what ive heard so im not hatin..But im a true DEADHEAD n I LOVE THOSE super cute hippy girls.Blasting the Grateful Dead n going on tour was some of the BEST,FUNNEST,smokiest,blurriest,dosed times we shared :))) Theres nothing like that left..That was the last place and for 6hrs r wutever u got to be free!!! Also on and sadly the last any of us kids born in 80 r before would ever experience freedom like that!!R.I.P. Jery Garcia...And piece and BIG FAT NUGS :))))

  3. Great overview of such a great period in design! I found some great articles focusing on main contributors of this topic at

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