Art Deco is actually an austere and geometric art style, which is associated with the 1920s and 30s in America.   It originated from a rebellion against the flowing lines of the previous art style, Art Nouveau, and was strongly influenced by Cubism and modernism.  It came into being as an official art style at the 1925 Paris Exposition. The style was not described as Art Deco until the end of the 1960s when English historian, Bevis Hillier, coined the term.  The name was based on the title of the catalog for the 1925 Paris Exposition,  Internationale des Arts Decoriatifs et Industriels Modern.  Art Deco was evident in everything from architecture to fashion, including buttons.

The first phase derived from the 1925 Paris Exposition.  It is known as zigzag Art

Another prevalent trend in Art Deco design is the popularity of  Egyptian, African, Native American, Aztec and Mayan patterns, which was influenced in part by the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1925.  Art deco designs are found on buttons of celluloid, Bakelite, plastic and glass.  Metal and pictorial buttons  depicting Art Deco patterns are less plentiful.

Deco and is prevalent on many American skyscrapers.  It is identified by the prevalence of zigzags, chevrons, spirals, fronds, and half-circles.  The  second phase was more popular during the 1930s . It was transitional, incorporating   elements of the zigzag style, as well as the later, more streamlined style.  The third phase, also popular   during  the 1930s, features streamlined, aerodynamic shapes symbolizing industry and mechanization.  Most Art Deco buttons are easily identified by their streamlined designs, which is one of the clearest hallmarks of Art Deco.  This streamlined look was seen as symbolizing America's newfound appreciation and enthusiasm for   industrialization and mass production that became popular in the 1920s and 30s.  Shapes are simple, bold,  geometric, with more defined vertical, parallel and horizontal lines, as  well  as  repetition  of   patterns and geometric shapes.