The ‘hippie’ counter-culture of the 1960s and early 1970s influenced design and modern art. Though claims of drug-induced imagery propelled the rise of psychedelic posters, the art style became influential in understanding the target audience and adapting styles to the times. This counter-culture’s use of psychedelic posters drew influence from past styles such as Art Nouveau and melded with modern accents such as highly decorative font selection. This new aesthetic impacted the design world through its unconventional message delivery and its separation from common design rules or guidelines. The psychedelic artwork often took time to understand and comprehend, while sometimes requiring one to decipher an image or text. Psychedelic artwork stemming from counter-culture strayed from the conventional graphic design aesthetic to advertise by community artists inspired by drugs and rock music of the 1960s and early 1970s. Due to a small group of artists residing in the Bay Area, psychedelic posters inspired a resurgence of print media in the 1960’s.
Between 1965 and 1970 an interchangeable group of young local artists like Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso and Stanley Mouse who were already living ...
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...t. It was also the birth of an avant-garde approach to merging fine art with lowbrow design. The venues that still remain from that time continue to put out posters, places like The Fillmore and The Warfield continue to hand out posters at the end of the show to take home. Paying homage to a time when they were collected.
In the midst of overdone imagery and the lack of innovation, the counter-culture pushed the design world out of a creative block. It pushed the designers to think beyond the rules and aesthetic guidelines set by academia. The psychedelic era was more than just LSD and interesting images; it was an avant-garde approach to merging fine art with design. They did not simply just accept the norms, but expanded the minds of society by understanding history and reinventing the game. Psychedelic posters sent society on a “trip” out of its comfort zones.
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