Graphic Art

In his new book, “Airline Visual Identity 1945-1975,” Matthias C. Hühne captures the grandeur of travel in an era when passengers dressed up for their journeys. The large-format book features airplanes, world destinations, animals, flags and events through gorgeous photography, illustration and graphic design that really exemplified the glamour and luxury of airline travel. Looking at these stylish visions of Hawaii to Miami, London to Japan, it’s clear how this kind of advertising sold plane tickets.

The pages are filled with the visual language of several airlines—Pan Am, TWA, Japan Air Lines, American Airlines, Continental, Lufthansa, United and more. Each chapter reveals the imagery associated with the airline with a focus on the printed items: posters, tickets, and timetables, and details emerge that reveal a larger historical context of the evolution of air travel. (For example, Pan Am launched the first 707 Boeing when only 10% of Americans had been on a commercial flight.)

Arguably no other book has been produced with such technical sophistication in recent years. It provides an unprecedented outline of the development of the visual identities of thirteen pioneering airlines, combining innovative research and stunning, museum-like presentations of hundreds of spectacular aviation posters, other illustrations and photos.

To reproduce all of the images as precisely as possible, a total of seventeen different colors, five different varnishes, and two different methods of foil printing and embossing were used. The result is a book of exceptional vivacity that pushes the limits of modern art printing technology.

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