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Monday, March 3, 2014

Ads from the Mad Men era

Always an excellent source for mid-century coffee table books, Taschen has published a 2-volume set that will surely be of interest to many of you. Entitled Mid-Century Ads, the set devotes 720 pages to print ads from the age of the "Big Idea" of the 50s and 60s and recalls the fictionalized booze-and-cigarettes Mad Men era.

The editor is cultural anthropologist and graphic design historian Jim Heimann, and the contributing author is Steven Heller, co-chair of the School of Visual Arts MFA Designer as Author Program. He as art director for The New York Times for 33 years and currently writes the "Visuals" column for The New York Times Book Review.

Here are just a few of the ads you'll find in the set.

All images from taschen.com


Taschen 2-volume set

Volkswagen ad

Knoll ad

Chemstrand ad

Alcoa ad

8 comments:

  1. Very cool. Taschen has the most interesting books.

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    1. They really do. I think this one is going on my Christmas list.

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  2. Oh boy, the cover guy sure is handsome! I just wouldnt want to live with his expectations of the pretty little housewife, always with dinner ready whenever it would suit him to come home:-) Love the Beetle, we had a white one when I was a litle girl! Looks like a lovely couple of books!! Are you on Instagram, Dana? It's so much fun....

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    1. I tried the stay-at-home housewife thing for a year after college, which wasn't unusual in those days. To pass the time, I cranked out so many street scenes and still lifes in oils and pen-and-ink that my friends and relatives ran out of places to put them. I'm sure one or two are still floating around at garage sales and thrift stores. I love the Beetle ad too. I had a couple of Super Beetles (one yellow and one pale blue) and a cobalt blue Karmann Ghia (my favorite car ever) back then. I do have an Instagram account, but I haven't really done anything with it yet. My SIL and I were just talking a couple of days ago about the need to have more of a presence there, so I'm sure I will soon be active. I'll ad that to my nav bar when it's running at full steam.

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  3. Love them all, makes me miss my blog retrographica....but I just don't have the time :( ...hopefully will get back to it one day. I have a whole stack of vintage Penrose Annuals, Graphis and more to utilise.

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    1. I'd love for you to get back to that blog!

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  4. I love how vintage ads always have a long story attached to them. It's not good enough to just put an interesting picture, you have to paint a picture with words, too. I love ads from the '20s; they are especially verbose. As the decades passed, the words in ads became fewer and fewer, until they just became pretty pictures and a tagline. I'm sure this correlates with our decreased attention span or something. Of course I'm too busy watching tv, playing on my tablet, and typing on my laptop to complete this thought...

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    1. You know, I hadn't really noticed how the amount of text in ads had changed over the years. Talk about a decreased attention span... :)

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