Travel has never been more readily available to more folks than it is today. Technology has shrunk our world while also, in so many ways, helped make getting around the planet a lot more affordable and easier. But somehow, en route, the vital essence of travel – that sense of wonder – seems to have got diluted.
Simply put, it ain’t like it used to be ….
Browsing through a stack of magazines from the 1940s and 1950s I was amazed to see the high number – and top quality – of travel ads. I was thrilled by the beautiful artwork and intrigued by that fact that elements of design now classified as vintage still manage to evoke a sense of seduction and promote the desire of longing.
Is this reaction simply nostalgia weaving its subtle magic on my sensibilities? Has sentiment smudged my judgement? Or is it that travel, simply by becoming commonplace, has lost some of its allure? Look at these wonderfully vibrant examples and see what you think. Is travel sold quite so stylishly nowadays?
Beyond the humour depicted in some vintage scenes – can you imagine being carried up Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak today in the manner as shown in the poster? – the sheer brilliance of the art direction more than half a century ago is such that many of these vintage travel posters are far more imbued with a sense of escape, awe and inspiration than many of their modern day counterparts with all the technology at their disposal. A case of less is more?
If you find images like these strike a chord then you may appreciate a handsome tome by Taschen (see below) which covers a century of advertising designed to cajole us to immediately drop everything and go globe totting. The book is available from Amazon.