Design Flashback: The Colors of the 70s

Design Flashback: The Colors of the 70s

Bethany Seawright
Oct 29, 2012

The colors of the seventies were pretty drab in comparison to those of the psychedelic sixties. The country was recovering from the turmoil of the Vietnam War, and the desire for peace and calm was reflected in the dark wood and warm earth tones of the period.

Avocado Green and Harvest Gold were important colors (especially in appliances), and were frequently mixed with toned-down versions of sixties orange. Primary colors, often seen in the more futuristic pieces of the period (such as molded plastic furniture), added a playful element to the overall palette of the decade.

1. This poster by Sebastian Nordlund is a great example of the earth-toned graphics that were popular in the 1970s. From Society 6.
2. An iconic 70s television series if there ever was one, The Brady Bunch ran from 1969 to 1974, and has been in syndication ever since the series ended. Photo from IMDb.
3. A 1973 ad for Zomp shoes in Italian magazine Ars Sutoria highlights the bright and playful side of the seventies. Via Paddock.
4. Pierre Paulin said, "A chair should be more than simply functional. It should be friendly, fun and colorful." Designed in 1973, his F-598 chair is all that and more; epitomizing the body-hugging upholstered furniture representative of the time. From Hive Modern.
5. Interiors in the seventies were often cheerful and curvaceous, as evidenced by this dining room featuring Eero Saarinen's signature Tulip chairs and matching table. From a 1970's Better Homes & Garden book on decorating, via ultrafinepoint.

6. A Panosonic ad featuring colorful, futuristic transistor radios speaks to the whimsical side of 70s design. Via Idler's Corner.
7. This kitchen image from Expo Lounge highlights the wood and earth tone palette so prevalent in the seventies.
8. An assortment of colors available from Kohler's kitchen and bath collection during the 1970s (including Avocado Green and Harvest Gold, of course).
9. One can't reminisce about the seventies without mentioning disco! This soundtrack album cover from the wildly popular movie Saturday Night Fever uses black and primary colors as the perfect backdrop for John Travolta's swingin' white suit. Via Fran and Dave's Musical Adventure.
10. This catalog image of women's fashion circa 1974 pays homage to the sweater vest, in all of its groovy glory. From Retrospace.

(Images: as linked above.)

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