All-American Ads 30s
Taschen’s fourth volume of the All-American Ads series provides a big look back to the day before yesterday. Steven Heller provides a short overview of the decade and explains that despite the Depression magazines, in which most of these ads appeared, had very high circulations. For a few cents readers could escape the reality of everyday life and be entertained by the features and the colourful advertisements. Naturally there is no real mention of the Depression though some of the ads sport the little NRA symbol and the words ‘We do our part’
The format of this book is the same as the others, nine sections (Alcohol and tobacco, Automobiles, Consumer products, Entertainment, Fashion and beauty, Food and beverages, Industry, Interiors and finally Travel) provide whole, two or four ads to a page and fortunately none of them are angled or overlap. The digital reproduction of the 1500+ ads is excellent, it is always a problem to reproduce anything that is already printed because it can create screen clash but these are reproduced with clean colors and sharp lines (thanks to 175 dpi).
Most of these ads are copy and picture heavy, stylish use of white space and clever typography was years away, though three ads for Pierce Arrow autos on pages 176-177 stand out because they do seem very modern. Illustrations rather than photography were the main visual elements with headlines and copy used to fill any space that was left.
This as a super book if you are interested in social history or want to see how copywriters created product desire more than sixty years ago or you are just curious about things your grandparents reminisce about. Maybe they remember the 1932 ads for the Pitcairn autogiro, after all no home should be without one!