Aesthetic Roots 2020: Streamline + Modern/Matte, Red

Streamline Moderne, Modernism

Streamlining aesthetic has a very shiny, curvy, and aerodynamic look to it (As seen in figure 1), naturally intrinsic to electrical guitars I feel. The aesthetic emerged in the 1930s and was used in industrial design, namely: railroad locomotives, telephones, toasters, buses, appliances, and other devices conforming to the sleek and modern impression. During the 1930s, the Great Depression was still progressing, and with it, saw the Art Deco movement transition from its ornament design to a aerodynamic and conceptualized movement in design through streamlining. The movement was prominent in buildings, especially those related to transportation: train stations, airplanes, cars (figure 2), port buildings, cafes. As most of the examples have been of transportation, an example of a building with streamline design would be the Normandie Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which opened in 1942 (figure 3). However, the electrical guitar itself was developed in 1932, mimicking the same curvy, shiny, and modern look that still exist today.

Figure 1: Motor Car No. 9 (without tail fin) with streamline aesthetic. Very smooth and soft aesthetic that can would work amazing on an electrical guitar. Source:

Figure 2: Another Streamline moderne automobile in the 1930s. Source:

San Juan, PR 05.jpg

Figure 3: Normandie Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Picture Credit: Javier Rodriguez Galarza. Source:,_PR_05.jpg

Aesthetic Roots

As my project has gone through many different changes, I have strayed away from the matte-black aesthetic as I have realized that I’d like to make a red guitar, as it is my favorite color. Red has always been my favorite culture, and a very prominent color in my culture, born as a first generation Chinese-American. Wedding gowns, red envelopes, fruits that share the same shades of red, and countless other things in Chinese culture show its representation of wealth, prosperity, health, longevity, fortune, and so on (Figure 4).

red-lanterns.jpg (1200×800)

Figure 4: Significance of red in China, red lanterns are lit up in preparation of spring festival celebration. Source:

Because I am naturally drawn to the color red and love the look behind streamline moderne, I will try to incorporate both within my final designs. I will be using red paint, then a red dye to bring out the color of the paint, then use lacquer or gloss to seal the color, I will gloss the guitar a couple of times until completion.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Brooke Shade
    May 3, 2020 5:12 pm

    I can definitely see how this is evident in your final project! Where do you think you developed an affinity for this streamlined aesthetic? Was there something in your childhood or adolescence that brought this up?

  • Kensue Kiatoukaysy
    April 12, 2020 5:43 pm

    Hello Will, I really like the use of your favorite color as a connection to what kind of aesthetic you’re doing for your final project. I thought the streamline moderne aesthetic was really neat and never knew the name of it when used in those lanterns.


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