A snapshot of design in 1975
Each year there are a number of iconic events and 1975 was no exception. The Vietnam War ended, the Microsoft name was first used by Bill Gates, Jaws was released in theatres, Muhammad Ali fought Joe Frazier in the ‘Thrilla in Manilla’ and
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Each year there are a number of iconic events and 1975 was no exception. The Vietnam War ended, the Microsoft name was first used by Bill Gates, Jaws was released in theatres, Muhammad Ali fought Joe Frazier in the ‘Thrilla in Manilla’ and Saturday Night Live aired it’s first episode.
Much like it’s colourful cultural moments littered throughout the year, the design trends at the time projected a bold, geometric autumn colour palette. This reflected the world as it transitioned out of the high chroma psychadelic style of the late 60’s into a more muted, simple palette that was more appropriate for the war heavy time of the early to mid 70’s.
Theartfulcodger best summed up this transition on reddit:
“This attitudinal shift towards muted, “homemade” colour and texture, and away from slick, obviously industrial colours and finishes was, at least in part, probably a subconscious side-effect of the 70’s generation’s fast-growing resentment of both the politician-buying industrial complex, and its ongoing material support for a war they despised. “
Below I’ve collected a small sample size of some design that was created in 1975. I will be adding to this collection as I come across more in my project research but I hope it helps you to build a story for what it would have been like to be a designer through the time.
The logos at the time had a real focus on being bold, thick and incorporated both inlines and outlines. The gradients of the 70’s were blocked, like in the pong logo for example, which really gave the period a unique feeling. Circular serif fonts were also very popular at the time as you can see by the Microsoft and Pong logos.
Stars and stripes everywhere. I can only guess this was influenced by the Vietnam War coming to a close, and as nearly all popular designs at the time, blocked gradients with an autumn palette. I do wonder how many art directors were complaining about reproducing these in black and white…
Concert posters were an interesting area to research as a lot of the bands that were popular in the 70’s would have been carrying early success from the 60’s when they had established themselves. This meant they would have been trying to manage a brand image established with an audience during the height of hippie culture and trying to adopt new sensibilities to stay relevant. Different genres of music also required reflective styles of design so a common thread is not as easy to locate. Good to see Genesis decided to go with something fresh…. an autumn coloured block gradient with circular serif text.
Well I might sound like a broken record we are presented once again with autumn colours with circular serif text. At least cornflakes decided to mix it up with some lighter capitals. I’m having a hard time to associate eating a bowl of cereal from the design though, it just looks like a one sided game of Connect 4. The Pong packaging however really captures the essence of technology at the time and I think that will be the lasting impression I have of 1975 graphic design.