By on April 6, 2018

The psychedelic movement began in the mid 1960’s and had an effect, not just on music, but also on many aspects of popular culture. The psychedelic design movement is the counterpart to the psychedelic rock music, and it was inspired by psychedelic experiences and hallucinations that one would get from taking psychoactive drugs like LSD and psilocybin, which were very popular at the time. The altered states of consciousness produced by psychedelic drugs were seen as a source of artistic inspiration. The psychedelic style was inspired by the Art Nouveau style from the beginning of the 1900.


After the end of the World War II in 1945, there was an economic boom in the US, and this also effected the birth rates, there was also a baby boom. Between 1945 and 1957 nearly 76 million babies were born in America. By the middle 1960s, most of these kids were young adults.

As young people do, these “baby boomers” questioned America’s materialism and conservative cultural and political norms. During the 1960s a youth movement emerged, seeking to create an egalitarian society free from discrimination. The feminist movement and the Black movement are a direct result of this evolution.

Historical events

  • The Cuba-crisis
  • The US President John F. Kennedy is assassinated
  • The Moon Landing
  • The Berlin wall is built
  • The Vietnam war begins
  • Hippiemovement  in the US
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the US


The featured image is an image by Roberlan Borges, from Flickr. The image was free to share as long as the artist is credited.
Rick Griffin: Image borrowed from

Victor Moscoso: image borrowed from


About Author


Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin, or Richard Alden Griffin which was his full name, was an American artist born in 1944. He was one of the leading artists in the psychedelic movement. His work appeard regularly in Zap Comix, an underground comix series from the 1960s. He was closely identified with the Grateful Dead, an American rock band, formed in 1965, as he designed some of their best known posters and album covers.


Victor Moscoso

Victor Moscoso was a Spanish-American artist, best known for producing psychedelic rock posters, advertisements and underground comix in San Fransisco during the 1960s and -70s. He was the first of the rock poster artists so use photographic collage in many of his posters.

Victor was the first of the rock poster artists from the 1960s that had formal academic training and experience. He studied at the Cooper Union in New York and the San Fransisco Art Institute, where he also became an instructor.


  • Fantastic, metaphysical and surrealistic subject matter
  • Kaleidoscopic, fractal or paisley patterns
  • Extreme depth of detail or stylization of detail. Also so called Horror vacui style.
  • Morphing of objects and/or themes and sometimes collage
  • Phosphenes, spirals, concentric circles, diffraction patterns, and other entoptic motifs
  • Repetition of motifs
  • Innovative typography and hand-lettering, including warping and transposition of positive and negative spaces

Colour palette

The colors used in the psychedelic movement were very bright and often highly contrasting


The typefaces were also very “playful” and “psychedelic”