1950s Style

Galli, Southern California - United Airlines

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The decade after World War II was a period of exhaustion, recovery and an attempt to return to normalcy. Posters turned from the strident propaganda of the war years to the world of consumer pleasures such as food, fashion, entertainment and electronics. Two diametrically opposite trends resulted in poster art, one rational and tightly structured (the International Typographic Style - often called Mid-Century Modern) and the other gently humorous and playfully relaxed, which we dub the 1950s Style. Drawn in a simple, almost cartoon-like manner, these posters had a na´ve charm that delighted and never offended. Understated graphic sophistication and eye-catching color combined with visual puns and irrepressible characters and creatures made it the leading style for product advertising.

Leaders in this style were Herbert Leupin and Donald Brun in Switzerland, Raymond Savignac in France, and Paul Rand in the U.S. All three were well trained and accomplished designers before World War II, and were able to adapt their styles to the needs of the time. In their marketing imagination they are the successors of Leonetto Cappiello and Paul Colin.

Other posters mixed this drawing style with photography, reflecting the acceptance of the persuasive power of the camera.

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