Art Deco Typestyles
by Ilene Strizver
Cool, jazzy, a little world-weary – that’s Art Deco, surely one of the most distinctive design movements of the last century. Although most commonly known for its influence on architecture, advertising, interior design and fashion, Art Deco cast its spell of sleek modernity over typography with equal abandon.
From its origins in Europe during the first decade of the 20th century, the Art Deco movement quickly spread to the United States, where it remained a popular and pervasive style through the mid-1930s. The Art Deco aesthetic is characterized by graceful, stylized and geometric shapes, often in symmetrical arrangements. If you’ve seen the Chrysler Building in New York City, you’ve seen one of the most spectacular examples of Art Deco architecture.
Art Deco typestyles range from uncomplicated, low-waisted monostroke designs, such as ITC Anna, Bernhard Fashion, Busorama and Coquette, to more intricate, decorative typestyles, such as Beverly Hills, Chic, Broadway Engraved, Gallia, ITC Mona Lisa Recut and Philco Deco The most ornate Deco designs feature double, triple or multi-lineal stroke details. Art Deco typestyles can be angular or curvy, elegant or playful, but all have the attitude of swank sophistication we associate with that period.
Many Art Deco type styles are all-cap fonts, and almost all are display designs due to their decorative nature. Consider using these stylish and unique typefaces for posters, advertisements, book covers, announcements – whenever you want to evoke the timeless glamour of an era gone by.
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.