History of Travel Posters
History of Travel Posters. This post covers historical aspects and includes a representative selection of Venetian examples.
The lithographic poster came into being, just as the explosion in pleasure travel was dawning and this new means of advertising was ideally suited, both to educate and tempt the consumer.
Posters provided fascinating insights into the social and cultural history of the 20th century; charted the changing patterns of tourism, as well as changes in society, art, architecture and fashion.
By the beginning of the 20th century, artists transformed the travel poster from illustration to symbol and vintage travel examples have become collectors items of considerable value.
“Posters reflect our culture and are like visual graphic icons of the times in which they were created.” Robin Shepherd, travel poster collector.
Travel Poster History
Travel posters not only advertised travel destinations, they were used by hotels, airlines, railroads and tourism companies; to graphically represent themselves to the public.
They were designed to immediately connect with the viewer, making them dream of a trip to the countryside, the coast, or a holiday abroad.
Posters charted the changing patterns of tourism, as well as changes in society, art, architecture and fashion. Text provided fascinating insights into the social and cultural history of the 20th century.
Many of them were considered works of art and ranged in style from art nouveau to mid-century modern. During the travel poster’s heyday, many graphic and fine artists devoted their skills to producing images, that would entice both the work and war-weary public to go on vacation.
More than any other poster category, they awakened our dreams of adventure, beauty, wanderlust; or simply escaping from everyday life.
Above: Early railway and exposition poster styles, crowded with information – a complexity of images, text and type-faces.
Railroads, ocean liners and airplanes, the technologic marvels of the early 20th century, inspired pleasurable and luxurious travel and gave people the freedom to explore the world. This sparked the “Golden Age of Travel” which lasted until the outbreak of World War II.
The lithographic poster came into being, just at the dawn of the explosion in pleasure travel and this new means of advertising, was ideally suited to educate and tempt the consumer.
Posters were first utilised in countries such as Great Britain, France and the Netherlands during colonial times; for advertising large exhibitions, attended by both the trade and public.
At first, posters were crowded with information – a complexity of images, text and type-faces (images above); but later developed into simplified, idealised and more graphic images of these new and exotic colonial lands.
By the early 1900’s, illustrators and artists such as Hugo d’Alesi (France), Emile Cardinaux (Switzerland) and Adolfo Hohenstein (Italy), produced more visually powerful imagery, to put across the message. By the 1920’s, A. M. Cassandre, his pupil Fix-Masseau, Tom Purvis, Frank Newbould and other artists; transformed the travel poster from illustration to symbol.
Large graphic images with bold text and were a very effective medium to inspire travellers to explore their own country and the world; being prominently displayed in the railway stations and kiosks of Europe and America.
In 1935, “S.S. Normandie” the first large ocean liner, was launched, inaugurating a new era in transatlantic travel. It set new standards of luxury, speed, stability, comfort and safety and was considered the epitome of luxurious travel.
Next, came the era of intercontinental air travel. This began after World War II and afforded travellers a more convenient, reliable and timely arrival at their destination.
Left: In the 1960’s photographic images were incorporated into poster design.
Today, air travel allows us to circumvent the globe in around 24 hours. The pandemic crisis, has sadly removed much of the romanticism and relaxation of travel. Perhaps our changing and uncertain world and the growth of the internet and social media; has made us nostalgic, for a more simple and settled time. This is reflected the growth of vintage travel posters; one of the most popular areas of poster collecting; providing artwork, to suit every pocket and interest.
Posters, no doubt, will continue to evolve with new methods and ideas and will always be a part of our world.
MY PICK OF VENETIAN POSTERS
Looking through the selection, you can see changes in the posters development:
- Complexity/crowding v simplicity of information and type faces.
- Traditional to modern imagery – representation to abstraction and symbolism.
- Stressing the graphic qualities – line, shape, form, colour, texture.
- Colour boldness and colour blocking.
- Illustration to art form.
60 years of British Railway Posters Great brief guide to British “old school” railway posters.
History of Travel Posters History of Travel Posters History of Travel Posters