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Greetings from Retro Design: Vintage Graphics Decade by Decade

What is a true 1950s look, as opposed to a 1930s or 1940s look? This book aims to address that question. Timelines for each decade highlight key moments, styles and movements, while profiles of thirty influential graphic designers three per decade are interspersed throughout the book.

The relevance of this book is the historic perspective of modern graphic design. Besides this theoric revision of movements and influential artists and graphic designers, this reading is helping me to discover inspiration by expressing the deep conection between art and graphic design. Also the suggested anachronisms are juicy and mentally stimulant. For instance: the parallelism between Vorticism and Punk.


The 30’s: Wall Street financial crash and the Great Depression. In this state of the world economy, surprisingly, Art Deco, “as a style that epitomized luxury and consumerism, retained its dominance”. Some iconic Art Deco graphic design features images automobiles, trains and ships. This is the era of A M Cassandre, Peignot, the Austrian artist and designer Joseph Binder…

All the imagery of this book is exquisitely selected and has great quality and the reading is an enlightening experience… The book, also shows the most iconic typefaces in each decade.

Another curious fact named in this book, is that the Pulp magazine style that people often identify as 1950s, actually can be traced to the late 1920s and 1930s, and more specifically to the years of the Great Depression.


Ask any historian which decade of the 20th century they feel was the most important in terms of the progress of social development, and the likely response will be ‘the 60s’.

All the youth subculture of the 60s fully embraced graphic design as way to spread their message on a global scale.

The mentor of the school where I took my Graphic Design degree ( Ar.Co.) was Robin Fior, a british graphic designer at the cutting edge in 60s London and revolutionary Portugal. Maybe this is why I’m so curious about “design as a political activity”.

The references presented in “Greetings from Retro Design” are worthwhile and necessary for any designer or even for anyone passionated about graphic arts. Some of them were a surprise for me. For instance, the links between Art Nouveau and Psychedelia…

Definitely a delightful must-read…

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