Sunday, February 22, 2015

Welcome to 1957

From the basement, the fall 1957 welcome edition cover of the Minnesota Daily,  newspaper at the University of Minnesota:

This cover makes me feel several things.

It calls to my nostalgia for that kind of cartoon modern illustration, and even just for the use of illustration on the cover at all. At some point someone did a focus group and decided audiences respond more to photography (especially if overlaid with yellow type), and since then covers have taken on a sad sameness.

The illustration also makes me appreciate the reality of diversity. In 1957, this illustrator and his (I assume his!) art director thought two white guys could represent the range of in-coming students as long as one of them looked like a studious nerd and the other like a jockish future frat boy.

What a set of assumptions underpins that decision. Oh, and neither guy looks remotely like an 18-year-old.

The items used to detail the frat boy are notable. He's wearing argyle socks and short pants (really?), while carrying a tennis racket and golf clubs. With a boutonniere, of all things. And (gasp) three changes of clothes. So many! Not to mention a Date Book in his pocket.

Though I fully appreciate the Zip-a-Tone used to create the patterns on their suits (another item you can find in the obsolete art supply aisle). And the way the green and red spot color inks are used. It's really a beautiful piece of work, frozen in its particular time.


Michael Leddy said...

Photos of college from the 1950s sometimes show students, men and women, who look amazingly mature. The GI Bill might explain some of that. But these guys do look much too old. I thought at first that the one on the right was a prof.

Daughter Number Three said...

I hadn't thought of the GI Bill, but was that as much an effect by 1957? I guess it could have been, from Korea. My dad was just graduating around that time (maybe 1958) after coming back from Japan.

But it's true that young people in historical photos often look older than a current viewer would think. Hair styles, glasses, even expressions.

I'm always amazed when I see photos of my parents from when they were 28, with the demeanor of just about nobody these days. (I was going to say the demeanor of a 45-year-old, but then realized 45-year-olds don't look or act that way either.)