Friday, August 22, 2014

Great Ideas in 1950s Style

If you want a one-stop shop of 1950s style graphic design, I suggest the Container Corporation of America's advertising series called "Great Ideas of Western Man" that also embodied the now more or less defunct "middlebrow culture" of those days. Even the title now would be considered a thought crime in many colleges and universities in America and elsewhere.

A useful source of background information on the the series is here; it is well worth reading because it deals with how the series began, the people involved, the source of subjects and the marching orders for the illustrators.

The CCA ad series followed somewhat similar series from previous decades and continued until around 1975, but the greatest impact was in the early days, starting in 1950. Graphic style of the 1950s and for a while beyond often took the form of simple, flat shapes arranged in some sort of restrained clutter, and that's what we find here. The captions on the images shown below indicate the artist-designers, all of whom were prominent in the field.


Herbert Bayer
Bayer was the art director, of sorts, for the CCA project.

Ben Shahn

Jacques Nathan Garamond

Lester Beall

Milton Glaser

S. Neil Fujita

Saul Bass

No comments: