Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Learning from the past

One of my favourite "off-duty" blogs, Jezebel, yesterday posted a handful of pages from the 1972 spring/summer Sears catalogue. In the States, Sears used to produce a "big book" catalogue selling everything from apparel to tyres, aimed at Middle America.  

What's striking about these old catalogue shots--aside from the fashions themselves (and the hairdos that the models were sporting!)--is how they demonstrate creative best practice. There are some catchy headlines and subheads, action shots (I love the admiring bicyclist in the background of the first spread--a nice subliminal touch), insets of alternative colours and additional views, cutouts that enliven the pages and put today's Photoshop acolytes to shame, eye-catching poses and photo compositions (see the "Junior Bazaar Jeans" pages).  

I'd love to know who those art directors and copy writers were, and what they've done since. They really did help craft a commercial aesthetic.--SC

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