Ideas from the History of Graphic Design – Week 1 Assignment

I finished the course Introduction to Typography and so I am taking another course in Coursera fom the California Insitute of the Arts called Ideas from the History of Graphic Design. The first week talked about how industrialization and mass production in the 19th century pushes for advertising and graphic design to promote and sell products. The assignment was to talk about a contemporary product that used or borrowed 19th century strategies to promote it.

Here’s my submission:

The print ad is for different salad dressings from Newman’s Own, a food company founded by the American actor Paul Newman. Each product features a drawing or picture of the actor in different costumes to represent the product thus incorporating some entertaining humor – for example, Paul Newman’s face as a white bust depicting of Roman origin i.e Julius Caesar for Caesar Dressing.

The use of his face is an example of the 19th century strategy of showing the face of the founder or creator of the product. Paul Newman being a famous actor also adds to the identity of the product making it more familiar with the masses just like the lecture example W.L. Douglas shoe advertisement in 1919. Perhaps a goal of using his face and last name is to make the product memorable and become a household name. Indeed, the company has expanded from salad dressing to wine, chocolates, and even pet food.

The print advertisement for the salad uses the strategy of telling a story with words and pictures with the clever use the line “Be faithful to your spouse – play around with your salad” to showcase the different salad dressings available. With Paul Newman’s signature right after this line, it made it look like it’s a quote or direct line from him which may or may not be true but it added to some degree of personalization and further adds to the story of the whole picture – a good bowl of salad in the middle sort of thinking and choosing which dressing to have as depicted by the thought bubbles. The text below also supports the whole image and story above – “Just one fling with these tempting alternatives will make you glad you strayed”. All these show the use of words doing the work of promoting the product.

It can’t be ignored that the company is conscious about its established image thus adding the information about the Newman’s Own Foundation donating to charities since 1982. This extends the advertisement from not only promoting the salad dressing as a product but also the company itself.