I Want to Talk About Word Art

Art, Decorating, Shopping

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. And as much as I’d like to do a post about WordArt: 

Is there any place for word art in a contemporary home? I found some distinctly modern options for your home—no Live Laugh Loves in sight!

This is, after all, primarily a design blog, so this post is about Word Art: 

My primary question being: Is there any place for it anymore? 

Clearly, the farmhouse trend of Live Laugh Love prints and Gather signs and Be Thankful art, and even (ugh) bathroom signs like Don’t Forget to Flush! has had its moment, and that moment has passed. (At least in my opinion.)

The number of Tiktoks making fun of Live Laugh Love signs is proof enough. 

@kaitw__ welcome to mama megs “white” basic home… iykyk 😂🤪❤️ #mominlaw #basicandproud #fyp #UltaSkinTok #hes21tiktok ♬ original sound – kaitlynn ✨

Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still hanging up in our friends’ and families’ houses, but people don’t seem to be designing with them as much. 

Which brings me to the question—is there any place for word art in a modern home? 

Is Word Art Out of Style?

On the negative side, we have Marie Kondo. She doesn’t actually address word art, but does say to remove labels from bottles or decant products into wordless bottles, jars, and containers. The reason? She says that it creates a sense of ease not to ask your brain to constantly read something. 

As the New York Times says, “In a world run amok, decanting your food into ceramic food containers might soothe. In any case, it erases the noise of package branding.”

I’m inclined to agree with her, and I’d go so far as to apply it to art as well. 

Plus, what is art for? I think it gives layers and interest and, most importantly, a mood to a room. A worded sign can feel like a really heavy handed version of art—downright proclaiming the feeling of a room without space for interest or interpretation. 

Of course, on the positive side, we have more modern interpretations of word art. What about word art that says something uniquely personal? What about postcards or travel posters (we love ours!)? How about beautiful lettering that is truly an art in itself?

I do think that word art can be fresh and modern, especially if it’s personal or unique.

I love this modern gallery wall from Yellow Brick Home (can you believe their TV is hiding in there??), which includes a couple of words:

How We Decorate with Text

Whether or not this trend is dead, we still have some pieces of word art hanging around our house. Some are straight up signs with words, others are prints with little notes/titles on them, and some are our beloved travel posters and postcards.

Generally, Dustin’s rule is no buying signs with words. We just…have enough. (And for some reason he doesn’t feel the need to be told to gather??)

Beyond that, I have a couple of policies I’ve been putting together for myself:

  1. No words in the bedroom or bathroom. We like these spaces to be serene and calming, where our brains can shut off. In the bathroom specifically, there are enough packages and bottles to keep our brains moving, so word art would just feel chaotic. (Also bathroom signs like Nice Butt are just…tacky. Sorry.) In the bedroom, I want a calm space for optimal sleep, and relaxing art is more appropriate. 
  2. No word sign gallery walls. A whole gallery of farmhouse signs is just really busy. When we do choose to hang a word sign, it can have the whole moment to itself.
  3. Limit the number of words in a room. Again, words across an entire room can just feel like a lot—everywhere you go, there’s a command or a reminder, or just something to read. Give the brain a rest with just an accent word sign.
  4. Avoid commands. Maybe it’s just the contrarian in me, but when I see a Gather or Don’t forget to flush! command, I just want to say “Don’t tell me what to do!”—so we skip the commands in our house.
  5. Skip descriptive signs unless needed. You probably know where your pantry is (and guests likely don’t need to find it), so we can skip the “Pantry” sign. That said, if your powder bath is in a hall of doors, I do think a sweet little “WC” sign is appropriate.

These rules aren’t at all hard and fast, and if you want a whole gallery wall of word art, go for it. But I think the point is, there are tasteful, subtle ways to use words in the art in our homes. And if something is ubiquitous enough that you’ve seen it in a million homes—I’m looking at you Live, Laugh, Love—I do think it loses meaning.

Whatever you take away from this article, I hope you choose word art judiciously, and pick pieces that you really connect with.

Designing with Modern Word Art

Okay, after this absolute thesis about word art, are we ready to go shopping? I did some hunting and found some distinctly modern, fresh, and fun word art options for your home—no Live Laugh Loves in sight!

Is there any place for word art in a contemporary home? I found some distinctly modern text art options for your home—no Live Laugh Loves in sight!

Sources: Some Fucking Slack Pennant | Patriarchy Printable Word Art Print | Work Hard and Be Nice to People | GOAT Pennant | Cool to Be Kind Text Art Pennant | Maybe This is How It Starts | Magique in Blue | Always Be Blooming Art Print | Bloom Print on Wood Background | Fete Des Clementines Art Print | Start with Yes Word Art | You Are Magique Print in Pink | You Da Best Art Print with Text | Don’t Forget to Have Fun Art Print

I love that pennants with fun sayings on them seem to be a trend, and, as long as you choose something that resonates with you, I don’t think you can go wrong. I love this one that reminds us to be kind, and this one would make a great gift for a GOAT in your life. Plus, a little swear on a pennant is definitely my style.

Speaking of friendly reminders, why not remind yourself that you da best, or you are magic? These two would also make great gifts for someone who needs a pick-me-up.

Want something more straightforward? Start With Yes and Work Hard & Be Nice to People are strong, universal messages that would also look very striking on a wall.

Word Art Prints and Art With Text

So there you have it, a study of text in the art prints we choose to display in our home. I’d love to get your thoughts on whether this trend is dead, and how you use word art in your home. Drop me a note in the comments or over on Instagram!

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