Blast From the Past

Today’s design challenge involved selecting an advertisement from before the 1980’s and updating it to modern day visuals. The book has a bit of misstep when it asks the designer to select an advertisement that resonated with you from before the 80’s and I haven’t studied many advertisements that are before my lifespan.

So I went with a subject that I am passively familiar with: Sewing Machines. In particular, I picked on Singer because I figured they HAD to have advertisements in the 1970’s that would be funny to look at. And honestly, the layout and typography and body text could be used today. The only thing that was outrageously dated was the photograph and even that is arguable:


It took me a good 13 minutes to select this advertisement and find a small, stock image that I wanted to work with. I knew my resolution for a full page advertisement was going to be way off because I wasn’t going about purchasing any high quality images but here are the top 3 forerunner stock images in my Google image search:

stock1 stock2

Photo 1 was about right. It had a youngish looking woman working on a sewing machine and straight on. Photo 2 was okay and I would have considered it more if it wasn’t at such an angle. It didn’t fit any of my original layout intentions. Photo 3 is the highest quality and had my most favorite background. It looked modern and updated. The problem was that the model was considerably older than the demographic I intended to target – the quilting and sewing world filled with etsy creators and pinterest pinners are in their 30’s. That was who Singer was going to try to sell a basic sewing machine to. Someone who has been sewing for awhile and in their 50’s and 60’s need a much fancier model and specific advertisement than what the image in photo 3 was conveying. By that point the focus is on new stitch types and functionalities than it is ‘hey, come buy our machine and not some other brand!’

I felt zero need to change the text of the original but the orientation needed to change. Initially I went really simple, organizing my elements from left to right instead of the usual top to bottom:


Time Spent: 10 Minutes

It was a little boring to me so I went ahead with another design idea I had sketched out. In the end I liked it much better. It seemed fun and more patchwork-like.


Time: 20 Minutes

Some of the squares could be reduced in size and saturation, the pink blue box and giant blue box in particular grab my attention more than the word SINGER which is the primary point of the advertisement. But it’s definitely more interesting than my first, quick attempt. A change in text size would probably make this stand out much better.


Time: Additional 10 minutes of fiddling

I moved around the pink and blue box, pushed back the opacity of all the boxes so they’re not as forefront. Singer definitely stands out better now but it looks very very crowded. I’m sure there’s better ways to organize this that I will continue to play with but I like this much better than before.

Total Time Spent: 55 Minutes (90 minutes alotted)
Tools Used: Google Image Search, Adobe Illustrator


Posted in Uncategorized