Wearing Graphic Messages

The Sandwich Board I found this photo, below, as just one early example of graphic advertising that gave the wearer an income. In 19th century England there were Sandwich Men or Human Billboards. This was also a common sight during the “Depression” years in the USA. Persons who wanted to convey their own personal statements or “causes” also used the “sandwich board” method for communication.

The next biped advertisement surface for displaying a message was the T-shirt. The original short sleeve undershirt became outerwear for the army and then many laborers began to work, wearing only their T-shirt.  Adults and children knew the “T-shirt” by 1920.  Consensus seems to say that the first time that a T-shirt was used to send a message, was in the 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz”. In the Emerald City of OZ, the three OZ workers, the ”Wash & Brush Up Co.” who re-stuffed the scarecrow with his own hay, wore green shirts showing only two letters: “OZ”.By the early ‘50s there were other printed t-shirts, produced in Florida.

Then in the early ‘60s Marget Larsen who was designing for Weiner & Gossage’s client, Rainier Ale of Seattle, created the 1961 ad with the offer of possibly “the first sweatshirts ever!” to have silk-screened photographic portraits. This also was where Howard “Luck” Gossage created his very “wordy” ads. His low-key plug for Rainier Ale was in the top line: (Rainier Ale Strikes a Blow for Culture; a Public Service Advertisement).

This ad ran in the New Yorker. It offered a sweatshirt for $4 to wear while listening to the San Francisco classical music station, KSFR. The ad suggested that this would include the recipients into the realm of “Highbrows”. Later the entire Boston Symphony Orchestra wore the Beethoven sweatshirt on Beethoven’s birthday. Lithographing half-tone images on a sweatshirt started a whole industry!

Cotton Shirts T-shirts and sweatshirts are woven and soft enough to not require much care so for most sports it is ideal. Cotton and thinner materials are usually used for bowling shirts. The team name or image can be lost in the wrinkles. Dick Moore gave the art for this “Rolling Toads Shirt” to the bowling team. He never saw the shirts in person but did receive this photo.

Also shown is Dick’s design and illustration for a T-shirt for a fishing tournament. (He produced some commercial work as well as being a fine art watercolorist while in Hawaii.) As I write this, Dick’s is sending his original art to be printed on (yes) “The Sons of Champlin: Home Grown in Marin” T-shirt.

As I began my life in advertising, I never knew that I would be involved with clothing. Sponsored Benefits The public’s participation in cycling and running events has required apparel to emphasize the popular events. Here is a shirt design that was reproduced for Houston’s American Rheumatism Association, a 1988 Benefit Run. Also shown, three possible designs for the American Lung Association of San Mateo’s Fund Raising, Sofitel Bastille Tour. The French theme was initiated because The Hotel Sofitel (later, Pullman Hotels & Resorts) contributed their location as part of the cycling tour.

Product Promotions As a layout artist for an agency for pharmaceutical products, I was to design sweatshirts for persons within the companies. In some cases, jackets and baseball caps were offered.
Jack Davis was known especially for his illustrations for MAD Magazine. To sell the client, Naprosyn, on the visual for a sweatshirt for their employees, I tried to guess what Davis would do. Next you see his b/w layout and, lastly, his full colored art printed on a sweatshirt.

Under-Stated Identity Sometimes the client’s identity was small, as this shirt for Apple University. Apple University’s Molly Tyson and I created a series of items in the same style. There were many sketches to develop the “Leadership” image.

Just for Fun Next, body-promo could be for private events. These items were created for fun and for free. “Vicom” Associate had begun as Barnum Communications, and then became Vicom Associates and finally, FCB Healthcare. These designs are credited to many in the agency’s art department. I have no record on who did what. These were for agency events: The Vicom Associates softball team,
I previously showed the agency’s bowling shirt and then there was the “Ship of Fools”, an agency party of some sort, on The Ruby, which was hired for the night on the SF Bay. It all was so very foolish! In the star-less, moon-less night, no life preservers to be found, no deck shoes on the decks, no sober words from the captain, and no calm water. At times the deck was almost perpendicular to the bay. The trip from San Francisco’s China Basin to Sausalito and back was scary and still great fun, having survived to tell about it.

Socks That Say Something I didn’t even know that this could be a possibility. (Dick Moore wears’um.)

Bodies as Billboards, Tattoos! I have nothing to show, here. I have read that persons have sold areas of there skin to advertise products and websites!

Ann Thompson