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Wallpaper from the 1977 HoJo I stayed in!

July 26, 2014


It’s true, when I was growing up in the 1970s — well into the early 1980s (the late 1970s) wallpaper and carpets in commercial buildings — hotels, motels, fast food restaurants — often featured garish repeating patterns just like the painting I found on a the lid of a recycling blue bin yesterday.

Check out the famous carpet in the Overlook hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film The Shining.

I don’t know what excuse a Fairview resident had for painting wallpaper but nearly 50 years ago everyone’s excuse was a design style dating back to the 1960s called Supergraphics which used bold colours and geometric forms to make oversize environmental design statements.

Oh no, it’s all coming back to me now

This style naturally had an influence on my own graphic design — it was everywhere when I was growing up. No one ever had to explain the rules to me. I just knew that true Supergraphic elements could only be contructed using a straightedge and a compass — no higher geometric forms such as ovals or Bézier curves. We all had French curves back in those days — they stayed in the drawer.


Largest of four French curve templates every commercial illustrator owned into the 1990s.

I could only imagine painting such designs as part of cathartic therapy but in the truth the design conceits of the 1970s are fashionably retro these days, with e-commerce websites entirely devoted to modern reproductions of 1970s wallpaper.

Fondue sets and appliances in harvest colours can’t be far behind.

Apropos of nothing, the Supergraphics style, which was a major influence on all graphic design for some twenty years, has no Wikipedia entry — I thought everything had a Wikipedia entry. Click the images to enlarge them.


One Comment
  1. San permalink

    How times have first glance the circles remind me of olives! A repeat of boldly coloured martini glasses and my wallpapered room would be complete!


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