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The American Billboard: 100 Years Paperback – September, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Circus posters, patriotic propaganda and ads for assorted goods, services and proper civic behavior have graced roadside America for more than a century. Fraser, chief librarian at Fairleigh Dickinson University, N.J., examines outdoor advertising trends from the late 1800s through the 1980s, spotlighting the realistic, airbrushed style of the '30s; the depiction of traditional values in the '50s; the tacit "six words or less" slogan rule that proved effective during the '60s, '70s and '80s. Prominent illustrators like James Montgomery Flagg (creator of the 1917 "I Want You" poster for the U.S. Army), graphic design groups like Milton Glaser et al.'s Push Pin Studios, trade journals and printing companies also receive brief mention. Progression from the glowing colors and freshly scrubbed faces of the early 20th-century billboard to today's slick, often computer-generated ad is shown in 166 illustrations, 150 of them color. Disappointingly, many posters criticized here are not shown, and readers will wish for less text, more captioned art.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Billboards are considered by some to be a form of Americana; others see them as a scourge on the landscape. This readable history, written by a librarian at Fairleigh Dickinson University, covers the evolution of this outdoor advertising from the mid-19th-century days of itinerant billposters to today's slick ad campaigns. Fraser includes 166 choice illustrations in this oblong volume, representing graphic design trends, prominent artists, and classic ads. Though he considers how changing social concerns (war propaganda, anti-drug) are reflected on billboards, his focus remains on the advertising industry. Indeed, more discussion of the billboard's impact on the environment would have been welcome. (Foes are dismissed as "cranky detractors.") Recommended for large advertising collections.
- Stephen Rees, Bucks Cty. Free Lib., Levittown, Pa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The years up to the forties are rather sparsely covered, understandable as there really wasn't an efficient way of historically capturing billboards in the environment but from then the selection is rather good I thought, all the favorites are here: cola drinks; food; cars; fuel; airlines; politics and some lovely public service ones. A Smokey the Bear poster has the remains of a fire showing the actual billboard construction, the poster having been burned away.
As I've mentioned you can pick up copies quite cheaply on the net but remember that the hardback edition is fourteen by ten inches and the paperback eleven by eight. Either edition is worth searching out.
***SEE SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
The book's text is minimal.. but the captions tell all you need to know.. including fascinating trivia: "Although the Marlboro audience was originally thought to be female, a tough and rugged cowboy has long been the brand's signature." .. A truly fascinating book!