Advertising's Creative Pre-Revolution

In 1903 Ad-Art was a weekly magazine out of Columbus, Ohio (a little-known advertising capital), that was printed on newsprint and provided the merchant class and advertising agents with ideas for selling their wares. The ideas were not as witty as “Think Small” or as taboo-busting as “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy’s” or as elegant as Braniff Airways’ “When You Got It, Flaunt It” ads—nor as memorable. But in a modest way, they did their job in promoting the burgeoning American consumer culture. Quaint and insignificant by the standards set by the Creative Revolution and Big Idea, but functional and practical by turn-of-the-century verities.

The only question I have: Who are Blank & Blank? They certainly got around.

Graphic design advertising for an early advertising magazine

A page from Ad-Art, an early advertising-design magazine

Graphic design advertising for an early advertising magazineTurn-of-the-century ads from Ad-Art's magazine archivesHow-to guide for writing ads from Ad-Art

Sample pitches from Ad-Art magazine's archive

4 thoughts on “Advertising's Creative Pre-Revolution

  1. caela carr

    These were probably sample advertising lockups. It’s very tedious to set metal type, and it may sometimes be difficult to convince potential advertising customers that an ad would look professional (judged by the standards of the day, of course) and be effective without a sample. Then, if the customer liked it, they could just substitute their company name for Blank & Blank. 
    It may sound like I’m a hundread years old, but, I was actually a member of the last class at a local college to have hands-on metal type-setting experience.