French writer, designer, playwright, artist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau once said, “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things”. This is a man whose cohorts were people like Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf, and other notable artists from 30s and 40s Europe – a time when things were very complicated!
While the phrase may have meant one thing to Jean and his friends back then, it also absolutely carries a message across generations of designers, artists, actors, and other creative types. Style is something that is neither in nor out of trend. It speaks to the past, present, and future with its chain reactions, infinite possibilities, and monumental achievements.
Painters and illustrators manipulate shapes and images to create a story or meaning. With so many different types of artwork being produced over time, Style is a function used to create groups and subsequently put these pieces into related categories. This is one way that we try to further reduce the complication of things we attempt to say, while also endeavoring to understand them.
In graphic design, Style refers to a consistent visual appearance of a family of fonts. This helps the graphic artist to convey feeling and emotion, or lack thereof, through something even as small as lettering. This is similar to the illuminated manuscripts of the 12th -14th centuries where monks would tediously and brilliantly decorate texts and books with gold, silver, and beautifully colored illustrations. This truly shows how Style spans the ages.
Additionally, fashion is a huge advocate of Style as the clothing or jewelry one wears can tell so many stories. A person’s style can non-verbally communicate where they are from, what type of music they listen to, or what their religion is. We are all victims of stereotypes from time to time- its human nature! But is a stereotype all that bad when it successfully conveys what the wearer is trying to say? Perhaps it means that we are getting better at deciphering our human family’s complicated code!
The world of interior design is one where inspiration is culled from all of these artistic sectors, and then some! A room could incorporate elements from fashion in its drapery or bedding. The colors and art that adorn the walls, carpets, and furniture in a room all work together, each with their own little messages, to say something very important…but not complicated.