Art Deco —After World War I
(Postcubist pictorial modernism)


  • after World War I, cubist ideas inspired a new direction in pictorial images

  • referred to as art deco: a term used to identify popular geometric works of the 1920s and 1930s.

  • Streamlining, zigzag, and decorative geometry were used to express the modern era of the machine while still satisfying a passion for decoration that carried over from art nouveau.

  • Edward McKnight Kauffer and
    A. M. Cassandre played major roles in defining this new approach.



  • The term art deco identifies the geometric works of the 1920's and 1930's (between the two World Wars).

  • Designers & advertisers realized that the middle class needed an alternative to the abstract Modernism.

  • Influenced by Art Nouveau, Cubism, the Bauhaus, the Vienna Secession, de Stijl, Suprematism.

  • Art Deco ornaments included Egyptian ziggurats, sunbursts, lightening bolts and the zigzags. It came to symbolize both efficient modern living and an elegant lifestyle.




Poster for the Daily Herald (1918)
E. McKnight Kauffer


  • Kauffer's famous 1918 Daily Herald poster showed how the spatial organization and synthetic imagery of cubism could be used with strong communications impact in graphic design.


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London Underground posters
E. McKnight Kauffer



Poster for Paris newspaper L'Intransigeant (1925)
A. M. Cassandre


  •   A. M. Cassandre had an exceptional ability to integrate powerful symbolic images and hand-drawn, sans-serif lettering to achieve a unified composition and concise message, as in this poster for a Paris newspaper L'Intransigent.



Poster for North Star Paris-to-Amsterdam night train (1927)
A. M. Cassandre



Poster for the ocean liner L'Atlantique (1931)
A. M. Cassandre





Poster for Dubonnet (1932)
A. M. Cassandre


DUBO (doubt): the man eyes his glass uncertainly; DU BON (of some good): the beverage is tasted; and DUBONNET: the product is identified as the glass is refilled.




14-48, 14-49

created by

A. M. Cassandre


Cassandre designed typefaces for the Deberny & Peignot type foundry, including Bifur, Acier Noir, and Peignot.




Vanity Fair cover (1930)
Jean Carlu




Travel poster for Paris (1935)
Paul Colin



Poster for the Southern Railway (undated)
Austin Cooper


Cubist rhetoric operates symbolically for mass communications, with fragments and glimpses of a Paris trip.


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Posters for the London Underground (1924)
Austin Cooper




Poster for the Vienna Music and Theater Festival (1924)
Joseph Binder




Cinema poster for Metropolis (1926)




Concert Poster (1938)
Ludwig Hohlwein


A Teutonic she-warrior looms upward, thanks to a low viewpoint and a light source striking her from below.