Back to Basics – Inspiration from 1940s War Posters

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I recently came across a library of US WW2 Posters and pulled out a selection of examples for as a showcase of inspiration. They each rely on the basics of design; composition, typography and colour (be it a limited palette of mostly black and red inks to conform to the available printing technologies) to put across a short and concise message with high visual impact.







One thing’s for sure – they definitely get the message across!

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  1. Marko Novak says:

    OMG…there’s a STFU picture in there. You know, have a nice warm cup of STFU.

    Where did you find these pictures?

  2. Danny Outlaw says:

    dude thats awesome. So many of these types of post are filled trendy images and bright colors. This is great. I might have do something like this.

  3. hey hey, this is so nice- I like what you did right there, awesome very helpful and it gives me an idea how to create like this one. Thanks good job

  4. paskal says:

    hey dude, just to know where can i get hi-res of this posters… anyway, 40’s people really know how to make great ads :P

  5. Lamiseaunet says:

    They are gorgeous ! where did you find them ???

  6. Blue Buffalo says:

    Thanks for sharing this great list! I am definitely going to check out that collection site.

  7. Mjoshua says:

    Whoa! They all look far more contemporary than I imagined. I have a hard time believing they were all made in the 40s!

  8. mao says:

    Thanks Chris Great inspiration I luv old posters they make me realize how “modern” vintage design could look, have a look to this great Chinese political propaganda from the 30’s

  9. Virgil says:

    Here is another place for more posters from World War I and II and in between both wars:

    Search for the health and safety posters they are hilarious.

  10. Jarek says:

    beauty :-)

  11. Wow it’s amazing how blatant their messages were! These day’s they’d be considered brash and inconsiderate. We’re such a panzy nation now. lol. Could you just imagine the sheer terror that would come upon our nation if our government were to tell us now that _they’ve got more important places to go_ HA! That president wouldn’t last long… Anyway, nice post.

  12. Oh, sorry I didn’t realize I was on a British blog, I should clarify that I my comments were as a US citizen and I absolutely love the States! Just poking fun at ourselves a bit, that’s all. :)

  13. Christopher says:

    Great find!

  14. Kevin says:

    This is a gold mine. This stuff is awesome!

  15. chas says:

    These are awesome. I also love the older vintage items as you can see by my website. The war ads are some of the more interesting. I seriously doubt Americans would sacrifice the way they did back in the 40’s.

    Great site

    Remember when…..

  16. Tim says:

    @ Marko, 1st post

    LOL… good one!!


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