The Golden Age of Graphic Design 1950’s- 60’s

The “Mad Men” of The Airline Poster

After WWII many pilots went on to fly the prop-liners for commercial & travel airline companies. Soon they were flying to all points of the United States and around the world. By the 1950’s flying was fun and fashionable. The airlines provided a means for an exciting escape on short notice or a long trip around the world. The “Mad Men” designed posters for the airlines to tempt you into travel to many exciting destinations here in the US and around the world.

David Klein(1918-2005): Klein was born in El Paso, Texas in 1918, but moved to California. During the 1930’s he was a prominent member of the California Watercolor Society. During WWII, like many illustrators & graphic designers at the time, Klein served in the US Army producing a variety of illustrations for The War Effort. Following the war Klein relocated to New York City where he became the preferred illustrator of the Broadway Theater District. By the mid 1950’s Klein had established a reputation as one of America’s pre eminent commercial illustrators. However, his most lasting contribution to the art world was yet to come.
During the 1950’s- 1960’s he designed & illustrated dozens of posters for TWA, advertising travel throughout the United States & abroad. “Klein’s use of bright colors depicting famous land marks in an abstract style defined the state of poster art of the period. These works… to this day define the excitement & enthusiasm of the early years of post- war air travel. They defined the Jet Set style and have become iconic. David Klein worked on several other travel poster campaigns throughout his career, including Amtrak, Cunard and Holland American Lines.
Stanley Walter Galli (1912-2009):

Galli was a California painter, illustrator, and printmaker. He attended The California School of Fine Arts & was a member of the New York and California Society of illustrators. He was elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. Mr. Galli was a prolific illustrator for such magazines as the Saturday Evening Post & Ladies Home Journal. His works have been shown at the Smithsonian Institute and the New York Historical Society. He is best remembered for a series of posters he designed for United ¬† Airlines in the 1950’s & 1960’s.

Joseph Binder(1898-1972): Joseph Binder was born in Austria & studied at the Vienna School of Applied Arts. He had become one of the most promising modernist graphic designers in Austria. He emigrated from Austria to the United States in 1934 & continued working as a graphic designer in America, notably for United Airlines, The American Red Cross & Fortune & Graphis magazines. In 1948 he was appointed art director & designer for the US Navy

A great Art Deco¬† & Modernist graphic designer “He applied reductive, compositional principles derived from Cubism…focussing on the reductive geometric forms, on color contrasts and the pyschological imprint of color.” He created a handful of travel posters for United Airlines. Today, they are much sought after and continue to be quite rare!

E. McKnight Kauffer: Born in Montana, Kauffer lived and worked in England for much of his life, where he rose to prominence as a graphic designer working for Shell UK Ltd., London Underground Railways, The Daily Herald, British Petroleum and Great Western Railways. He became one of Europe’s most prolific and influential advertising poster artists during the 1920’s & 1930’s, and as innovative as his more celebrated French counterpart, A. M. Cassandre. In 1937, the Museum of Modern Art in New York gave him a prestigous one-man show. In 1940, on the last passenger ship to leave England, he returned to America where he created posters for government agencies during WWII.

One of his last advertising campaigns was for American Airlines, who had commissioned Kauffer to do a series of posters in the modernist tradition. His work for American Airlines, among others, assured him a place on the list of the greatest 20th Century graphic artists.