Typeface Tuesdays: Mad Men Era Type

Okay, I know I know I’m a little late on this one…

I’m feeling the Mad Men vibe these days. Among the intriguing storyline I can’t get enough of that hottie pottie, Don Draper. Break me off a piece of that.

So in honor of the series, I am going to take you back to the advertising age of the 1960s and walk through, at a super high level mind you, how type was used back than compared to today. Taking a look at print ads only, there are some interesting distinctions. My overall take is that there were a lot less design rules back then when it came to type. (Also note: there are obviously a lot of other differences with these ads, particularly the tone of the message itself)

  • There was a tendency to incorporate much more copy I guess because the notion was the product required more of description to sell it
  • There weren’t as many rules around how many and what kind of typefaces could be combined (take a peak at the Maybelline ad below)
  • The justification and leading does not appear to have as much consistency or flow, and in general the spacing feels tighter around graphics and there is less of an appreciation for white space




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