It’s likely you didn’t even notice the architecture of the gas stations you pulled into this last labor day weekend… but if you did it was probably not because they looked good. Most places you fill up have had their design considered for about 0.2 seconds – before moving on to placing the soft drinks quickly at hand, the dingy toilets hidden somewhere out back and the credit card machine handy. That hasn’t always been the case however, as seen by these beautiful modernist designs from the bygone era – when cars were chrome covered and filling up the tank was the station attendant’s job. [Read more...]
I’ll admit it: I’m a complete fiend for mid-century media. When it comes to, say, cartoons from that era, it’s hard to beat the warm nostalgic feeling you get from their positive, often childlike vibe, and optimistic outlook towards the possibilities of the future. So when I ran across these classy retro animations from Colin Hesterly, I couldn’t help but love each short tasty nugget of nostalgia. [Read more...]
In a time long before Photoshop, when advertising departments looked something like the set of Mad Men and every piece of art was hand-crafted, this advertising campaign from the Ethyl Corporation was highly ambitious and still succeeds in capturing our eye. The once giant Ethyl Corporation is a manufacturer of fuel additives designed to stop engines from knocking better than fuel without – a point driven home by this vintage series of ads… after all, a collie is very different than a cauliflower. [Read more...]
Yokohama based Satoshi Hashimoto is kicking it old-school cool. This Japanese illustrator has the touch of a mid-century master, creating a world of goatee sporting beatniks and cocktail swizzling cool guys brought up to the modern age. His figures, which feature in plenty of modern periodicals, are surrounded by the technological signs of our modern world: laptops, rooftop gardens and DJ turntables place these images decisively in the 21st century. [Read more...]
When I ran across these old 50′s pin-up gals the other day, I couldn’t help but hear some lonely Korean War soldier remarking, “wow, will you look at the gams on this dame!” If these did make it to that war, they came all the way from the advertising pages of America. These classic examples of the mid-century feminine ideal were created by legendary advertising painter Gil Elvgren during his long and successful career. Each image features his original photograph, mocking up the scene to be painted later. His models pose in campy and sometimes awkward positions, doing their best to emulate the scene and demonstrating what must be some of the earliest examples of the dreaded “duck face.” [Read more...]
I’m pretty sure it’s not what the original author was going for, but this vintage childrens safety manual still has me laughing at the crazy images and captions. Each illustration features Dick and Jane type comments about kids getting into this trouble or that… some advice still fits today; others like getting locked in a refrigerator have luckily passed. If I was a kid in the 50′s, this pamflet would have been a real keeper! [Read more...]
Did you know that during the Truman administration the White House it had a full gutting and renovation? The iconic building had been home to every US president since John Adams took residence in 1800, but after years of neglect during the Great Depression and World War II, the building had fallen into a very sad state. [Read more...]
Scotty Reifsnyder is a powerhouse of a young designer. His mid-century themed creations have a level of well thought out detail not often seen in this time of trending minimalism. His pieces rework old themes and add modern subjects while retaining a welcome familiarity. The world has taken notice and as Scotty has spent 3 years working for Headcase Design he has produced pieces for the likes of GQ, Time Magazine, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Wired. See his impressive portfolio at seescotty.com
Born in 1919, Swiss designer Max Huber took to graphic design early in life, studying under such notables as Walter Roshardt and Alfred Willimann when he was just 17. He received his first job in Milan when he was 21, getting the attention of his future boss, Antonio Boggeri with his precicely hand-drawn calling card. Working frequently as a freelance designer, Huber enjoyed experimentation and would often do so even on client work. Much of his work combined un-framed photographic elements with exploritory typographical details, using bold linear splashes of color to give his images a sense of speed.
“He was a splendid mix; he had irrepressible natural talent and a faultless drawing hand; he possessed the lively candour of the eternal child; he was a true product of the Swiss School; he loved innovatory research; he boasted a lively curiosity, being quick to latch on – not without irony – to the most unpredictable ideas, and he worked with the serious precision of the first-rate professional.”
- Giampiero Bosoni
Our Mr. Sun is a campy scientific video from 1956 expounding on the many wonders of our galaxy’s very own star. Combining live action with animation, it features creative infographics describing the influence of the sun on humankind. Check out the graph of population growth at 35:15 and new ideas about solar technology. We’ve come a long, long way.
The film was originally telecast in 1956 and 1957 to 9 million homes; some 600 16mm prints were distributed to schools and community organizations.