The style of art deco was popular at the height of World War II and led to a new design craze, which resulted in some of the best standing architecture and art in modern history. Little things like the Chrysler Building and the look of ads are still showing the influence of this medium.
Graphic designers and desktop publishers can experiment with this style to bring about a classy and retro look for any design that comes their way. The best way to achieve this is with art deco style fonts; the Internet has become a great place for artists of all calibers to bring back the classic and glamour that art deco represents, and getting your project to have the same type of feel is easy with the right look and lettering.
Why Use These Classic Fonts?
As mentioned, the world wide web has allowed users to get things they may not have been able to before it. One of these things is different styles of fonts. Why are fonts so important? While most word processing or presentation programs will come with some standard fonts that can be used, sometimes an artist wants something different to reflect whatever project they are working on.
In terms of using the art deco style, using lettering that is reminiscent of that era can help achieve a higher level of professional looking design, such as for an ad poster or even a newsletter. Think about all the movie posters you may have seen or lunch box covers; now visualize them without the sometimes iconic looking fonts that make up their logo. Does Star Wars look the same when written in Times Roman?
Here are some great fonts that you, as a designer, can find, download, and use for whatever project you're working on.
A good representation of the popular marquee fonts that were, and still are, used for both movie and television production. Fans of the
television adaptation of the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot will recognize this as a close facile of the opening and title sequences.
Plaza can be found at Linotype for around $42 dollars (listed price is for Great Britain), but has four different varieties of the font.
2. Tall Deco
Another marquee font, Tall Deco is a font that is similar to the font used on steam liner posters, popularly done by Cassandre. If the cost of Plaza is a bit much for you, try this font for any commercial publication.
Tall Deco is free for download from FontSpace.
Parisian is a font that has been used for many different things, from movie posters to cosmetics. A very elegant theme, this can easily
be used for marketing or just to give an image a little bit of retro style. The popular magazine Vogue, uses a similar type of font.
Parisian can also be found for free from FontSpace.
Microsoft Windows users can count on their version of Office to contain this particular art deco font. Included in the 2003, 2007, and new 2010 editions, this style is popular for posters. The font may be familiar to movie goers, as it has been used for several different posters.
Windows users with the mentioned Office suite products will have the font, while others can download it for free on various sites.
5. Lobster 1.0 Regular
A nice bolded italic font, there's a sense to use this to decorate a detective novel or something that involves the mob for some reason.
Very nice for something that is professional, but still gives off high society type thought.
Lobster can be downloaded for free from Abstract Fonts.
On the next page, we'll look at five more great fonts that reflect art deco, including Andes, Harold Square, Park Lane, and more.
Similar to that of Plaza, Andes is a bit more stylistic in the use of flowing cursive in its lettering. Also used as part of marquee design, Andes is great for all sorts of title signs.
Andes can be downloaded for free at Abstract Fonts
7. Harold Square
A popular font named for the square between Broadway, 6th Avenue, and 34th in New York, is seen in all sorts
of publications, menus, and even sports teams (check the lettering for the New York Giants).
Harold Square can be found in different variations at Font Space.
8. Park Lane
Another popular art deco style that features in the city of the Big Apple, Park Lane is a popular art deco font for marquees (again), but can be used just for announcements. A prominent place where the style is used, is that of Harold's New York Deli, which features the style as part of their signage.
Park Lane can be found over at Font Space.
9. Drumag Studio
A type of bolder Parisian, Drumag Studio is probably most famous used as that of the sign for former Studio 54; one of the biggest and
hottest nightclubs in New York in the 1970's and 80's. The type itself is a bit heavy, so using capitals with this font is better, but also eye catching.
Drumag Studio can be downloaded at Abstract Fonts.
10. Libeled Lady
No, not the 1936 movie with Jean Harlow and William Powell, but the font. Used not only in movie posters, but to entice people to go to the movies, Libeled Lady is a popular font for use in art deco design posters and advertisements.
Libeled Lady can be found at Abstract Fonts with a free download.
Make Your Choice
These are just 10 of the hundreds of different art deco fonts that a designer can find for use in their projects. Both free and paid fonts can be found, though it depends on the designer whether they want to spend money or not.
The upside for paying for a font is that, depending on the site, they may keep a back up and history of your downloads, so if you want to use it on another computer or change computers, you'll still have the font. With free fonts you will need to back up, or redownload, and then restore should anything happen.
Vintage, Retro, and Art Deco Fonts from ES Development, https://esdev.net/vintage-retro-and-art-deco-fonts/
Linotype – Plaza Family Fonts, https://www.linotype.com/1348/plaza-family.html
FontSpace (Parisian, ParkLane, Tall Deco), https://www.fontspace.com/category/art+deco
Font Space (Harold Square), https://www.fontspace.com/category/art%20deco?p=3
Art Deco category at Abstract Fonts, https://www.abstractfonts.com/category/57/Art+Deco
- Lobster 1.0 Regular, page 2
- Drumag Studio, page 7
- Libeled Lady, page 10
- Andes Regular, page 31
Fonts in Office from Microsoft Office, https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/fonts-that-ship-with-different-versions-of-office-HA010282644.aspx#BM3
Images by author, via Font Space, ES Development, & Font Marketplace