Paul Rand is known as one of the most iconic graphic designers in American history, but his contributions are even greater than that. He elevated commercial artistry into graphic design. Previously, art directors were often known (behind their backs) as page decorators. Make it pretty, make it blue, send it through. Rand was one of the best, most articulate, most persuasive practioners to show companies the power of a corporate vocabulary — how their imagery (logo, colors, type, visuals, etc.) established how they were perceived in the marketplace. Other famous Rand logos were for UPS, Westinghouse and NeXT computers (for Steve Jobs).
In 1620: The Mayflower lands at Plymouth [in now Massachusetts] with 102 people. The brutal winter kills half within five months. “Wild beasts and willd [sic] men” are all around them. This was the start of the settling — and then selling — of what became America. 100 years later, here's a drawing of Savannah, Georgia, showing the clean grid format the city still has today. The idea was to make it compelling for people to come and settle there.
John Wanamaker is known in the biz for saying “Half the money I spend in advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Jumping forward, direct marketing used to be called “accountable advertising”… because you could actually measure ROI, e.g., if AT&T spent x dollars on a mail campaign and got y number of responses, they could measure what was going on. The advertising was accountable to itself.
This classic WWI poster has a one-word headline and a powerful image of a mother going to the bottom with her child. It refers to the German sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania. On Veteran's Day and in the aftermath of the great election upset, take a look at some war posters and consider the extraordinary power of patriotism in advertising. Patriotism pulls the same string that all of us who love this country share. Advertising has a long history of the federal government using it to sell war bonds, promote enlistment and a variety of other communications needs. And companies who participate in the war effort are quick to promote their role, too.Click here to view the gallery of war posters.
This modern poster does the same thing. I started it at 2am when Trump won the election. I feel that this presidential campaign blew a hole in the heart of our country. Now we come together.
Click here for a pocket lesson on the Burma Shave billboards, which appeared along interstate highways starting in the 1950's. They were sequential - one line after another. Anyone who has driven on I95 past the dozens of South of the Border signs knows you can't look away.
Advertising is often used to introduce a product, as with Clairol's home hair coloring solution in 1967. The "Does she...or doesn't she?" campaign earned executive Shirley Polykoff the Advertising Woman of the Year honor in 1967. These ads were written by Polykoff and her all-woman creative team... an unheard of practice in ad agencies at the time.