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'Motion' Project

This project introduces pupils to the Futurism and Art Deco movements of the early 20th century. The focus is on the various ways they represented motion. From preliminary drawings from secondary sources, the final outcome is a poster design based on Art Deco conventions. This demonstrates an understanding of composition for illustration and typography.

Umberto Boccioni founded Futurism. This was considered to be an extension of Cubism that focused on the expression of movement through repeating, overlapping imagery. The core themes of Futurist art were machines and motion. They were inspired by speed, noise, machines, pollution, and cities; they embraced the industrial world.

Art Deco poster designers of the 1930s turned their backs on the frenetic imagery of the Futurists. They valued clarity and simplicity. Colours were bold, shapes were smooth, lettering was modern, highly legible and attractive. Beautiful streamlined forms inspired by the principles of aerodynamics were the epitome of that era: Cars, aeroplanes and zeppelins, skyscrapers and ocean liners; these became the clichés of Art Deco poster designs. Lightning flashes stood for power generation, or radio transmission. Undulating lines suggested marine transportation, speed lines indicated fast trains or automobiles.