Looking through photos, it’s easy to see that things were MUCH different back in the 70’s when compared to today. What most people born before the 70’s do not realize though is how much advertising and the use of typography has also changed from a print perspective. Using Playboy as an example for then and now comparisons, this post will showcase how much the times have changed.
Here we have two very different covers for Playboy. The cover from the 70's is much simpler in design with flat text and more of a focus on the image.
The modern cover is designed much like other magazine covers–dynamic variations is type size and weight and imagery that are intended to be seen quickly to entice readers.
The layouts of magazine articles also changed over time. The articles in the 70's are locked up tighter, and are conservative in the way they rarely break out of columns with little overlapping of the images on the spread. Even though the layouts get repetitive, they rely on the content's quality to keep readers engaged.
This article is pulled from Cosmo, but represents many current layout and type trends. It utilizes many different variations in hierarchy with color, size, and font styles. It uses its typographic elements to balance the image on the opposite spread while also showcasing evident use of the grid (and the breaking the grid).
This is where the typographic differences get really wild. The trend in the 70's was to include fairly significant bodies of text with a heavy image present, but little graphic design. Often these bodies of text were wrapped around the image/product being advertised. The hierarchies utilized weren't terribly interesting, but the messages delivered in the body copy was. Rather than trying to grab a reader's attention as quickly, the ads were more like persuasive letters or conversations with the reader explaining what they were and why they were the best. This might be because our current generation has an incredibly short attention span thanks to technology.
Current print ads are created with the intent to grab attention as quickly as possible in a unique way. To do this, text and imagery need to be as harmonious as possible to establish a feeling/concept. They don't have enough time to tell you why they are "cool" before you get bored and flip the page, so they just have to BE "cool" from the get go.
The only thing more advertised in antique Playboys than cigarettes is alcohol.
"Black" is cool and edgy in nature, so a more mystical and darker typeface is used to match the imagery.
I think you can still find these at Urban Outfitters
So much denim, but so quick and to the point.
Outlier: Bulova is still in business with the same approach to marketing their product.
Other fun ads from the 70's
the source for all vintage images is from the April 1972 Playboy Issue