Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another Aesthetic Preference

The quiz design moves forward slowly. Here's another aesthetic style: Mid Century Modern/Retro chic

From “The Jetsons” and the atomic printed future envisioned by interior designers of the 1950's through to Danish modern that is still represented by Ikea.

That kind of fun retro print, with a nostalgic idealized vision of domestic bliss and efficiency, is very popular in scrapbooking. The bright tints and contrasting discords, repetitive geometry, and science (or is it sci-fi) graphic motifs can be found in kits and stacks and often include charming line drawings reminiscent of magazine ads of the era.
Representative designers of the time include Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, George Nelson and Eero Aarnio in furniture and interiors; in fashion Balenciaga, Balmain, Givenchy (Audrey Hepburn was his muse), Jaques Fath, Dior and the near perennial Chanel. Later these designers were joined by Yves Saint Laurent, Courreges (famous for space age designs) and Mary Quant. Modern architects of the day included Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, Philip Johnson, and Edward Durrell Stone.

Much of the style can be summarized by clean lines and simple geometry. Where there are curves, they create exaggerated organic forms. The color palette avoids primary hues unless muted, with few colors in each design scheme. Deep reds are popular. The woods are generally lighter, and there is plenty of white. A contrasting discord means dark shades of usually light colors (such as deep mustard yellow) combined with neutrals or tints of hues that would normally read as low on the tonal scale (such as pale mauve or muted mushroom pinks).

I'm only noting color movies to watch (which is not a reflection on the quality of the numerous fantastic black and white films of the era, just on the idea of looking at visual design) : "How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) - both have some beautiful interior design and fashions - "Funny Face" (1957) - fashions and interiors - "North by Northwest" (1959), "Peyton Place" (1957), "Imitation of Life" (1959), "Pillow Talk" (1959), and for good measure "Corrina, Corrina" (1994) which really has the look. (The list was just getting way too long!) Oh alright, alright, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) which also has fashions and interiors.

For scrapbooking in this style I'd grab the colors and use papers designed with retro graphics. I wouldn't do too much inking or distressing in these layouts. I'd focus on color blocking and clean line work. I might include metal embellishments in geometric shapes. I would use fewer floral motifs and more layered geometry and abstracted nature images. I notice little birds, which have recently become a very popular visual trend, were popular in the mid-century period also.

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