You've come a long way baby

allison9190's picture

hi. i'm a student working on a poster series about women's roles as seen through advertising. although women have gained equality in the workplace since the 1950s, ads today are targeted towards women for "traditional" roles they still supposed to play. i've included 2 initial concepts for this series, and i want to show how not much has changed between now and 50 years ago, as far as gender-dictated roles in the household go. i'm having some trouble finding images (i will be photographing the actual products). does anyone know where to find good images? also any suggestions for to integrate the type better? how can i make these stronger?

poster1 gif

kraft (1393.7 k)

poster2 gif

gain (821.9 k)

allison9190's picture

here are the pdfs again:

kraft.pdf (1385.4 k)

gain.pdf (813.8 k)

dan's picture

Allison, try contacting Font Dinner aka Mister Retro. He could probably steer you towards the books you are looking for.

aquatoad's picture is worth a look for quick and dirty.
Awesome info at the library of congress american memory site:

Collections on advertising from late 1800's - early 1900's
Also on women's culture and women's sufferage. Maybe something there.


allison9190's picture

thanks for the links. any thoughts on the composition? i'm trying to get it in the standard sytle of the 50s (headline, large image, supporting text on the bottom), but any other suggestions? also, how's the copy reading?

aquatoad's picture

Hi Allison,

The layout is looking fake retro. Immerse yourself in real retro advertising to get a sense of how the different tools and printing affected the layouts. The look is often not as clean as you have going. Simple yes, but clean no. Part of this is the fonts. Try the copy in futura bold, Draw it up how you want it. Print each piece, image, type etc. Scan them back in and hand composite in photoshop. Also, use real quotes! Here are links to layouts:

Above all, have fun.

whoisdan's picture

Font Diner not only has great fonts for you, he's got a "Homemade Specialties" section. You can find some real inspiration there.

I think your ideas are pretty solid, but I think you've got a long way to go in the posters' designs. The font on the Kraft one is hard to read. Also, you have a really good opportunity to contrast the woman and the stove with type. Maybe separate the images with the type.

The Kraft one: I would drop the hyphens and write "mom who does everything". I also think the washer and dryer are too big.

Overall, your concepts are strong, but the design isn't there yet. I would consider a thick sans serif for the body text instead of the display types you're using. For something like this I wouldn't feel bad recommending Helvetica.

Have you thought about colors? These could look really nice with some washed out colors.

Does anybody have tutorials or know a way to get faded colors and images, ala MisterRetro's machine wash filters?

tsprowl's picture

Honestly, if chosing a modern product I'd go Adbuster style with your ad and make a present-day looking ad - and use the copy (the words) to make your point, rather then depending on old fonts and image treatements to do your work.

But I found some old ads that might help you anyway. My only comment is that I don't think many were 4 colour - ads for the time frame your depicting. you migth want to change your product image to a duotone or change the era.

don't forget there's a ton of stuff to be said about playboy covers with respect to women and advertising, as well as perfume,(chanel namely) and tobacco ads, liquor and fashion. Women weren't always dressed as maids and moms showcasing products - a lot targetted the glamourous woman inside too.

allison9190's picture

thanks for all the input...i'm looking at the links and will have more to show soon.

allison9190's picture

i've found and scanned several images from actual advertisements from the 50s as well as brand images from wesselmann's "still lifes". they have a great feel to them, and will hopefully solve my image problems!

allison9190's picture

here's what i've come up with. new images...less cheesy and i hope more "real" feeling. let me know what you think about color vs. black & white, copy, and the arrangement of text/image...

handsfull (863.5 k)


whoisdan's picture

Allison, I think your plan of attack needs a little tinkering. You're trying to portray women as professionals and housewives, but you're running into a problem, namely that you seem to want to use 50s style to reinforce the fact that women <em>weren't<em> professionals back then, and that advertising hasn't modernized its portrayal of women. I think you have some potential for tongue-in-cheek stuff here, starting with the first line.

I might consider adjusting the first line to: Don't have all day to prepare the family dinner?

Then the next one you might try: You need all the help you can get! (exclamation points must be used with discretion, this is a rare case where I think it's ok)

"Had a long day at work and now you have to cook? etc...(the rest of this paragraph is nice)"

"Del Monte

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