Art Deco Poster Design


A couple of weeks ago I got to design the main poster for the annual Remembering WWII event in Linden, TN. This is a local event organized by some good friends, and lots of folks from our church participate in it. Its main purpose is to honor WWII veterans, and let them teach important lessons from that war. There’s live music, lots of vintage vehicles, and an ever-growing battle re-enactment. I was really happy to get to work on this poster, and I gave it a late 1930s Art Deco style.

Obviously, actual American propaganda posters from WWII were painted in the 1940s, and the most iconic posters have a style and design elements from the 40s. There wasn’t as much Art Deco influence at that time, partly because design fads are usually short-lived, but also because of advances in printing technology. As cheap, mass poster production moved from basic screen printing to four color half-toning, poster design moved from simple geometric shapes and minimal colors to full color paintings, often by brilliant illustrators like Flagg, Barclay, and Rockwell.


However, an Art Deco poster is much easier to imitate than a Norman Rockwell painting, and much more retro. It’s instantly recognizable as something from the past, which is why movies like Captain America usually lean more heavily on the flamboyant and distinctive styles from the early 30s than the more utilitarian designs of the 40s. Have a look at my vector draft after the jump:


I built the B-17s in Lightwave to help get the proper perspective, and tried to limit the color palette and rely on simple luma gradients to create depth. I was originally planning to build this in Illustrator, but I’m more familiar with Photoshop, so that’s where it stayed. It was very fun to try to get a bold and dynamic look without getting too complicated or too muddy. Ideally, I would have used stronger geometric shapes, and made a more symmetrical design with extreme perspective shift, but it works.

I’m very much looking forward to the event this year. I’ve only missed one so far, and only because James decided to be born that morning. If you live within driving distance of Middle Tennessee, you should come out for the day. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

  1. Awesome

    - Ana Maria
  2. This is pretty awesome. Well done.

    - Bruce Howard
  3. wow wow wow ! that is so neat!

    - kaitlyn mcdoanld

Comments are closed.