After checking with my tutor and the course writer I decided to reference the 1970’s.

My most valuable resources turned out to be books, in particular “The 1970’s Scrapbook” , compiled by Robert Opie, which was so good I ordered the 1950’s and 1960’s version as well. There was also a 1970’s night on BBC2 which I watched as an aide memoir. I visited a local vintage shop and took  photographs of the stock with their permission. Although I used google, it was my least useful tool. In order to produce my illustration I drew on my own memories of being a teenager.


1970’s a visual perspective.


People and costume

For a teenager in this time, the most significant people were related to the music. The “heart throbs”  were the Osmonds, David Cassidy and then the Bay City Rollers. This was the time of glam rock with Slade, T Rex, David Bowie and Gary Glitter. Teenage fashion reflected the popstars with tight flared trousers and platform shoes. This is the era I chose to portray in my illustration.

As the decade progressed teenage fashions dramatically altered as punk came in. The second half was much grittier, leaving the idealistic sixties behind, in keeping with the strikes and union unrest.


Architecture, interiors and surface pattern.

The 1970’s were not renowned for great architecture. It was the era of Brutalist concrete structures, multi storey car parks and award winning tower blocks which were later demolished as mistakes.

Habitat opened in the 70‘s and was immediately fashionable. New build houses were designed with a strongly triangular roof pitches. The gardens had no hedges and inside everything was open plan. Period details were very unfashionable and often removed,  fitted cupboards were starting to come in and orangey pine was fashionable.

Orange and browns were two very dominant colours. Starting to take over from the purples and pinks of the sixties. Flamboyant flowery patterns were everywhere.


Art, graphics and the Telly

Along with architecture, this wasn’t a noted decade for art movements. Carrying on from the sixties was Land Art,  Conceptual Art and Installations developed in the Post Modernist framework.


The psychedelic look continued from the 60’s. Album covers were show pieces for the graphic artists of the time. The extravagant swirls and colours moved on to the crude, gritty images of punk, the classic being the Sex Pistols, “God Save the Queen” using cut out words as lettering.


Typography that was seen in this decade (as well as Helvetica which started to become very widely used) was a variety of very angular fonts such as Avant Garde, some very thick, rounded ones such as Cooper Black and some which were a mixture of hard angles and thick letters such as Pump. In addition there appeared some space age type fonts which reflected the digital counters seen on computers.


In the seventies everyone watched the same programmes on the TV. With only 3 channels there wasn’t much choice and you had to watch it when it was broadcast or miss it. There were a lot of cop shows; The Saint and The New Avengers leading on to Starsky and Hutch, Kojak, The Professionals and The Sweeney. The moon landings in an earlier decade obviously inspired the next generation to produce Star Wars, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Dr Who and the Bionic Man. It was also an era of cosy sitcoms, reflecting day to day life, such as Man about the House.


So overall, the seventies started with the flowery, flamboyant idealistic sixties and ended in a far more hard edged, tougher place, both visually and culturally.



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