In this series I’m going to try my best not to compare apples to oranges. I understand there are vast differences in technology, ideology, legality, etc between designs of the past and designs of the present. However, I believe there was, is, and will always be a way to almost objectively design something properly. To me, this means a design that is well executed, aesthetically pleasing and properly communicative… in relation to whatever is being “sold.”
TWIW, V.2 is in regard to travel advertising. In this case, specifically cruises. Here are my thoughts on the ads in question:
1. I don’t even know where to start. How about the copy? Clearly one is simply advertising a specific cruise ship, while the other goes into much more detail about the price, locations, discounts, dates, etc., but that in itself says something about modern advertising’s problem with forcing too much information into a single ad. Add to that the tragedy of 5+ arbitrarily used fonts and typesetting that seems to make no sense at all. Except of course for the legal line, which is strategically set in black type over a dark portion of the image. Crafty.
2. We used to marvel at things like the massive Cunard cruise ship, shown above. But as technology and engineering progress, we’re less interested in how we’ll be getting to our destination and more interested in where it’s taking us (and how much it will cost). But aren’t these ads for the cruise itself? If you just want to go to The Bahamas, you can fly there in a fraction of the time. This is about the experience of the cruise. And as you can see in the more recent ad, the actual cruise ship has become an afterthought; a footnote.
3. As for the imagery, we’re faced with the obvious difference between professional designer and someone with a personal computer. Before the computer we relied on professionals to do the job of advertising. They were skilled in their craft. They knew type and composition and cohesion and color. They designed because they were good at it. I know I’m stating the obvious here, (and there’s a heaping helping of irony as I sit here and type this) but it’s a bit of a bummer that the computer has turned every civilized human into a jack-of-all-trades.
4. In the end, one is clearly worth framing and displaying in your home, and the other is sure to end up in a trash bin. I refuse to believe that we collect things that are “vintage” purely based on nostalgia. The bottom line is that, in most cases, that old stuff is flat out better than the garbage that we see today.