Old Catalogs Mark Evolution of Graphic Design
I love vintage – clothing, movies, music and, yes, design. I’m the person at the history museum who takes joy in observing the changing typography of old-timey signage.
So you can imagine my joy when I came across these images taken from the 1934 Montgomery Ward "Wish Book." Along with Best, Ward’s catalog, which debuted in 1872, was the book from which many of my childhood Christmas lists were culled. Judging by these ads from almost 80 years ago, a lot of women were also poring over the pages – so many shoes!
From a designer’s perspective, I notice a lot of script fonts and serif fonts. I also wonder: Who did all the illustration? How much time must it have taken to reproduce all these products? Also, the item descriptions are so wordy – it makes for cumbersome reading. At least the prices stand out.
Finally, I can’t help but point out that, apparently, in the ’30s, you could buy baby chickens at a department store.
What stands out the most for you, as a designer, when you look at retro publications like these?