I get some pretty unusual requests here at Today's Inspiration headquarters... but this week's topic might be the most esoteric one yet.
Pablo Medrano, a graphic designer from Barcelona sent this note:
"I'm writing my Master Thesis in Graphic Design History at the Central University of Barcelona, about "The Forgotten Years: The American Phase of Michelin in Milltown. Advertising in Pioneer Tire Companies. The Early Years (1900-1960)".
"This fully illustrated thesis talks about the graphics on early advertising press campaigns, especially the use of character trademarks done by different illustrators for some tire companies: Michelin Man (of course), Kelly-Springfield girl (Lotta Miles), Hood Tires service man, Fisk Tires boy, Old Man Mileage from Republic Tires, the polar bear of Gillette Tires..."
Pablo's letter got me thinking about all the tire advertising I'd come across and only taken note of if it was done by an illustrator I had an interest in, like the Stan Ekman piece above or the James R. Bingham illustrations below.
But when I went back and really began compiling examples of ads from the different tire companies for this week's topic, a fascinating picture began to emerge.
Inventing the wheel took a tremendous amount of creative thinking... but I almost think it took even more creativity to come up with interesting and compelling ways to capture the public's attention and focus them on one particular version of the wheel.
Certainly, the 1950's art director(s) on the Kelly Tires account did some of the best work in that category.
So this week might be of more interest to those of you who are designers and art directors - and marketers - than to the many illustrators who visit the blog... though the focus will, of course, be exclusively on illustrated tire ads.
Please note that this is hardly a broad overview of tire advertising during the 50's... just a selection of some ads from some companies that I found appealing. I completely ignored all the photographic ads and dull "technical" ads (of which there were many!) that I found.
Rather than start a new category, all of this week's images will be added to my Auto Ads Flickr set - and they are really worth seeing at full size, so take a minute to click the link and do so.