10 July 2007

Celeb endorsements, stamps, minuscule objects, vans and maps

Before the age of the 'product placement' and the 'viral video' there were straightforward, honest to God, celebrity endorsements. These print ads seem so innocent now, "I lived in Milwaukee, I ought to know..." This fine collection is part of a larger database of various and sundry ad images, curated by Chris Mullen.

Is Nicaragua really so hungry for heroes that they put G.K. Chesterton on a stamp? And nothing against Alfred de Musset but if he had been born in Maryland it's really hard to imagine the USPS putting his mug on legal tender. Same goes for Edward Lear. Norman Lear, on the other hand, I can see.

There are thousands of minuscule objects surrounding us at any given moment, most going relatively unnoticed in our day to day lives. Some are man-made, others are natural and a few even blur the line between the two. In an attempt to catalog these Very Small Objects a new system has been created using fragments of the English language rather than that archaic Latin everyone seems to cling to.

Vans have taken a hit in recent years by being portrayed as the vehicles of choice for both terrorists and FBI sting operations alike. But in the 1970s, there were few things cooler in America than the van. And nowhere is that more clear than in The Gallery of Van Advertisements. Because nothing says, "I'm a man you want to get to know," than a 1973 Dodge Van, tricked out with Super Sports Radial Stones, plush captain's chairs from JCPenney and a psychedelic paint job of an electrified wolf riding a comet, howling at the moon. Good times.

Created as promotional material aimed at a happy motoring public, this Collection of European Petrol and Oil Company Road Maps is nirvana for those of us who like nothing better than rooting around in big stack of vintage printed material, searching for gems. There's practical information here and most of it reminds us that there was as a time when touring was a hobby, people drove for pleasure and the crafts of cartography, iconography and typography had not yet been folded under the antiseptic term "information design."

More from Coudal Partners...

No comments: