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Sign Adjacent: Location, location, location

Vivid postcards carry similarities to imaginative sign design

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As the school year ends and summer begins, people start planning vacations. So, it’s a good time to celebrate a uniquely American art form: the destination postcard. These detailed depictions of tourist attractions, small towns and big cities were created by the same “Golden Age” artisans who illustrated much of the signage of the last century.

These “blue-collar” artists worked for printers, lithographers and publishing houses. However, few were celebrated for their talents; most punched a time-clock and earned a working-class paycheck every week. Along the way, they helped create a uniquely American vision of the world, just as their sign-design counterparts were doing in shops all over the nation.

These postcards were a window on the world; they presented the recipient with a glamorous, vivid image of an exotic destination. The goal, of course, was to instill an urge for the readers to go there and experience it for themselves. As the temperature rises, enjoy this gallery of destination postcards. I dare you to not want to hit the road!
 

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