Vespa – Ça c’est formidable! (It’s Great!), 1955. Way Cool Poster via @intlposter

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Vespa - Ca c'est formidable (It's Great!), 1955. Artist: D Ambrose

Vespa – Ca c’est formidable (It’s Great!), 1955. Artist: D Ambrose

In 1955, the high-energy French actor and singer Gilbert Becaud released the hit song titled C’est Formidable! (That’s Great!). It was a perfect marketing opportunity for Vespa to create a hip poster campaign. The poster shows the singer nimbly mounting the scooter as if it were a skateboard (a recently minted pastime itself, at the publication of this poster). The background was equally hip, with Vespa’s patented pastel colors in asymmetrical, intersecting shapes that echo Mid-Century furniture design. Fantastique!

Vespa, or Wasp in English, was named in 1946 for its narrow waist, high-pitched engine and antenna-like handlebar. The product was perfectly suited for the war-torn country, where consumer budgets and poor roads made larger vehicles impractical.

In 1952, the vehicle’s popularity skyrocketed when Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck teamed up on a Vespa in Roman Holiday. By 1956, 1 million Vespas had been sold. The Vespa survives today as one of the most fun products on two wheels.

Image and description via, International Poster Gallery.

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Something Fascinating That Occurred At The 1934 Chicago World’s Fair

1939 Chicago World's Fair
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World's Fair 'A Century of Progress' - Chicago 1934, Illustration: (Sandor), A. Raymond Katz

World’s Fair ‘A Century of Progress’ – Chicago 1934, Illustration: (Sandor), A. Raymond Katz

In this famous poster for the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair, fan dancer and silent film star Sally Rand, one of the event’s star attractions, points the way to the fair. Rand simulated nudity in her act by wearing a body stocking. The street-sign-like device refers to the unique way the lights were turned on at the beginning of the fair: rays from the star Arcturus were collected at various observatories, focused on photoelectric cells, and converted to electricity. A rhythmic, luminous poster that exemplifies the Machine Age at its most kinetic. – International Poster Gallery

Emphasis added.