Neo-modernist, minimalist movie and television posters are all the rage, as we’ve mentioned before. But there was a time when modernism was on the cutting edge of graphic design, looking into the future rather than the past. For those graphic design and/or science industry aficionados who like their minimalist posters “vintage” instead of “retro”, Maria Propova has pulled together a wonderful gallery of mid-century modernist science and technology advertisements on Flickr (which has more detailed information about each advert).
The advertisements all come from magazines from the 1950s and 1960s and feature companies you may have heard of (Monsanto, Sylvania) and many you probably haven’t (Avco?). As Propova says, though, they all bring “the modernist aesthetic to the atomic and space ages” and use the aesthetic “in a manner particularly appropriate for its subject matter.” Here are a few of my favorites:
“How Much Sass In a Glass of Lemonade” (unknown designer; Ad Agency: Erwin Wasey, Ruthrauff & Ryan, Inc.)
Rhyming? Check. Science in layman’s terms? Check. Everyday object abstracted into sharp fragments? Check. This advertisement about “keeping the acidity of your product precisely uniform” may not be particularly space age, but it’s a bit of minimalist fun.
“And let’s consider another quotient” (for Martin)
Math jokes! I’ve never been particularly good at these kinds of math puzzles, but the ad agency/company certainly knew their audience when they designed this one. +10 XP to anyone who can figure out the answer.
“AEROJET for infared”
I’m not really sure where that plane thinks it is going, or if that is supposed to be an “O” or some kind of eye in the center, but this ad definitely plays into the trippier sides of the modernist, space age aesthetic.
According to the ad copy, this is a rocket’s cone re-entering the atmosphere. Honestly.
Check out all 21 Flickr pages of cool vintage advertisements for more amusing and nifty designs!