Selling Space

 
Space, the next frontier, had to be sold just like cars and cigarettes back in the 1950s. “At the dawn of the space age,” writes Eve Lichgarn, “emerging aerospace companies sought to
appeal to level-headed engineers, scientists, and technicians by
utilizing mind blowing astro-art recruitment ads in industry magazines.
While the text of these employment entreaties spoke of such button-down
tools as photo-electro-magnetic cells, solid state multicouplers,
transducers and magnetohydrodynamics systems, the accompanying artwork
seduced with surreal images of bodies floating in inky blackness,
dismembered hands grasping at the Moon, colossal mountain ranges on
unknown planets, and optical atomic art. It was an era when the slide
rule entered the Twilight Zone.”
 
Lichgarn is writing about Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962 by Megan Prelinger, published by Blast Books. The visually rich book is a collection of advertisements for aerospace and kindred companies. Some were futuristic, while others were expressionistic, but it was science reality and fiction rolled into one. It took a lot of mad men to make space flight sexy. Wasn’t the future wonderful?
 
For more on the space race see the sexy former Third Reich rocket scientist Dr. Wernher Von Braun in this “Walt Disney Wonderful World of Color” video. And here.
 
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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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