Vintage Advertising Art & Design by Dover

Dover has always done a great job with these ‘clip art’ type of publications and I’ve been using them for several decades.  Royalty free (original copyrights long since expired), for use as inspiration or to scan in and redo digitally, the quality is always high.  The designs are original from the period – not redrawn or updated.


The majority of the designs come from a few publications: six from 1906-1906 and oddly one from 1927 (creating a mix of art nouveau, arts & crafts, and deco influences.  Mixing art deco with art nouveau seems a bit odd and the reason I rate this a solid 4 stars and not 5. Note that the origin of the drawings are books on design (Henderson’s Sign Painter, Lesson Sheet 5: Show Card Writing, Modern Ornament and Design, etc.). So these have a nice, generic quality to them and aren’t original commercially used art with the names erased.

Several of the designs or designs are greyscale – from full color art likely but converted to black and white for the original publications. Others are line drawn and easy to adapt for modern use. Included are full signage, square motifs, borders, capital letters, fonts, logos featuring 2-3 letters, examples of store hanging signs, ethnic inspired designs (Chinoiserie, Egyptian), shields/emblems, insects/fish/animals, and stained glass.

The book is quite packed with designs – nearly 700. So there is definitely a lot to choose from.  Applications for logo design, advertising, to marketing, can be found within.

In all, another great Dover book. Reviewed from an ARC.

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