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Good graphic design can transform advertising into an artform. At their best, great campaigns use deft illustration or artfully rendered ideas to create idealised, soft-edged and simplified versions of the world. They pique our interest with promises and appeal to our desires: for order, exploration, ideas or excitement.

The pleasing shapes in these posters, their tight typography and eye-catching colours, come together to raise awareness – of an exhibition, perhaps, or about consumer electronics – but they can simultaneously cause us to raise an eyebrow, crack a smile or start making plans.

Who wouldn’t want to hop on a flight to Rome, Greece, Geneva, or even Kandersteg after taking in the glowing representations of these pretty postwar posters? Here’s our paean to the alchemy of advertising done well.

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Designed in 1960 by Tom Eckersley for an exhibition organised by the Society of Industrial Artists.
twentiethcenturyposters.com

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Contemporary poster advertising a night at Glasgow’s Numbers club.

designmuseumshop.com

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Herbert Leupin poster from 1962 for sparkling water brand Eptinger.

galerie123.com

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A 1960s design by Reymond Zahler for Swiss stationers Caran d’Ache.

galerie123.com

 

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Piet Sluis designed this poster for Aer Lingus in 1950.

sotherans.co.uk

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Mirosław Adamczyk’s design was created for the Wybrzeze theatre in Gdansk. 
polishpostergallery.com
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“Don’t be silly, drink Perilli” reads Cioma Schönhaus’s design for the vermouth brand. galerie123.com
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A 1965 exhibition at Germany’s lga-Zentrum is the focus of HW Kapitzi’s design.

postermuseum.com

grece-45081-greece-vintage-poster.jpg

Frederick Vincent Carabott designed this poster in 1961 for the Greek tourist board.

galerie123.com

kandersteg-schweiz-berner-oberland-40113-kandersteg-vintage-poster_1.jpg

The Swiss region of Kandersteg is showcased in this 1960s print.

galerie123.com

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 A poster from 1964 advertising boat trips on the Swiss lakes.

galerie123.com

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Swedish radio-makers Radiola enlisted René Ravo to create this design in 1960.
elbe.paris 

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A Japanese poster from the 1930s advertising riverboat trips.

antikbar.co.uk

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Hibner Maciej’s design for Polish carrier lot was originally printed in 1961.
polishpostergallery.com
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