Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Trends and styles come and go, what was in decades ago, went out of style only to come back in with a twist. One of those trend you need to watch for if you are surface designer and commercial artist is the "Mod" trend because it's been making a big comeback as of late. Probably as an extension or followup to another big design trend : Mid century modern. For a few years now, the late Millennials and Gen Z have been on a retro kick, probably trying to get a feel of a "simpler" time through the style and fashion trends of their parents and grand parents, this is the reason why the 50's, 60s and 70s aesthetic has seen a massive revival. Plus, all the vintage stores and thrift stores are now full of gems belonging to those decades in just the same way antique shops were filled with stuff from my great grand parents' time when I was a teenager.
But what is mod?
Mod is described as a subculture that started in London in the late 50's and early 60's, in term of fashion and style, it's the era of psychedelic patterns, and colorful geometric designs. Think mini dresses with stripes or checkered pattern in contrasting bold colors, bold geometric designs in every colors imaginable, swirls, circles and more.
If you are above the age of 35 at the least, and definitely if you are a child of the late 70's and early 80's, I bet you had at least one grand parent, or even your parents having some decor elements from that period into their home, and you probably saw your parents pack away swirly pattern mini dresses, and checkered pants away. I myself remember an accent wall at my paternal grand parent's place that had a wallpaper with intertwined circles in a color palette similar to the one I used to create that Mod inspired pattern on this Society 6 credenza. While it was definitely not the style of my grand parent's era and the rest of the house was done in a more mid century style, that accent wall was in the bedroom my uncles shared and this was totally a type of style in vogue with the baby boomers when they were kids. My bedroom growing up was more of 70's style but had some of those geometric elements from the mod era still very much present : avocado green geometric wallpaper and orange carpet anyone?
key elements to remember as a designer today
In terms of colors, that style era was pretty much "anything goes" the pastel tones from the 50's still existed but got replaced by bolder tones in those same colors and as a surface designer and artist today, you need to pay attention because these colors are coming back in force. Just look at the bold yellows, pink, orange and green making a comeback in the fashion world and take your cue from it. If you have a teenage girl either as your daughter or as a relative, watch how they shop for clothes, or simply visit the teenager and young adult section in a clothing store, you are bound to see a rainbow of colors in those bold hues, paired with classic Mod patterns.
Just this weekend, my daughter bought a bunch of Mod style sweaters, and bell bottom pants. The sweaters are a 60's colors and pattern meet the 90's cropped cut and as a 13 years old, she qualifies as late Gen Z, this is the generation that is just now getting their purchase power and you definitely want to pay attention to what they are into if you are in commercial art and design. Their lot is really into exploring what they perceive as "simpler times" through the aesthetic of that time, be it with the cottagecore trend or the Mod one.
If you ask me, the Mod trend is an easy one to adapt to our time and as a color lover myself, I totally see the appeal. Working with geometric patterns and elements is actually a lot of fun, and because the 60's color trends are so wide, you are bound to find a couple of colors that are a match made in heaven with your own branding and style. So, if you haven't yet keyed on that trend yet, now is really the time to start exploring it because it's really starting to peak and will probably be around for a few years with it's bold checkered patterns and psychedelic swirls. If bold colors are not entirely your thing, just explore the 70's aesthetic instead which still has many of the geometric elements but with a more muted palette than the one from the early 60's