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