Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation
Mark Mayerson · From fps #9 · November 2, 2006 | Amid Amidi's Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation is a success both as an art and history book. It tells the story of the studios and artists who broke away from Disney's design approach by bringing modern art and contemporary graphics to animated cartoons. While most animation historians discuss the influence of UPA during the 1950s, Amidi has gone much further. He doesn't limit himself to theatrical cartoons and TV series, but also deals with military films, industrials and TV commercials, giving the reader a comprehensive picture of the design movement.

Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation
Written by Amid Amidi
Chronicle Books, 2006
200 pages

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After an introduction that recounts the roots of this movement (dating back to the 1930s) and how it occasionally surfaced in theatrical cartoons, the book details how this design approach came to dominate animation on a studio-by-studio basis. Amidi shows how World War II and television both played parts in spreading more modern design. The military needed to communicate information and was not particular about the artwork so long as it did the job. Designers used the military's lack of interest in design as a license to experiment. In television, advertisers were always looking for distinctive visual approaches to brand their products and they encouraged designers to be as eclectic as possible.

Want to read the rest of this review?

You'll find it and many other articles in the October 2006 issue of fps, available for only $1.49 US.
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