The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

We recently wrapped up our Mad Men Week celebration and enjoyed the creative process of thinking like a 1960’s advertiser…

We recently wrapped up our Mad Men Week celebration and enjoyed the creative process of thinking like a 1960’s advertiser – the style, the art, the cadence, and the imagery.

It had us looking back through some of our own work, too, and we have a lot of it after 18 years in the business.

We were amazed at how much design has changed in just those 18 years, let alone since the 1960s.

That inspired this edition of our #AskaDesigner series as we asked our team to answer, “How has design changed through the years?”

Designers Karley and Jessica agreed:

           “Fundamentally, the principles haven’t changed. The way we work has.”

A look back …

The 1960s

Creativity comes alive. Design-wise, images dominate, with copy supporting imagery both in meaning and physically in the layout.

“Layouts used to be accomplished via paste up, where type and photos were physically arranged and then photographed to produce a layout. Desktop publishing software has completely transformed that process. Programs like Quark Xpress and now InDesign have streamlined the way creatives work.” –Karley

The 1970s

Imagery grows even larger, with full bleed images dominating ads. Short and to the point, ads contain sharp, targeted creative driven by large headlines.

“Certain techniques that were accomplished by hand or done in an analog way in the past can now be created in the digital medium faster. With print, we no longer have to rely on hand-delivered proofs. Color calibration software can ensure accurate color representation across hardware, and email and the web allow for digital proofs – faster and easier for both clients and creatives.” –Jessica

The 1980s

Images keep the limelight with even less body copy than years before, forcing creatives to simplify the message into just a few words rather than a few sentences.

“Today, we are better able to target our audience which allows us on the creative side to focus both designs and copywriting – creating voter contact mail and mobile ads that are more impactful and memorable and better able to convey the message.” –Karley

The 1990s

The “simple” style continues, but it’s anything but simple. This is the hardest form of creativity but often the most powerful and lasting.

“We’ve gone from darkrooms to digital. Today’s technology in the world of photography allows us to quickly take images and instantly see results. We can almost immediately use those images to create custom ads.”  –Jessica

The 2000s and Today

Technology continues to change the way we design, opening new doors to creative that allows advertisers to manipulate images more easily and quickly.

“Technology has increased not only the pace at which we can work, but has also allowed us to be more creative. We are no longer limited to images we can draw or stage. One photograph can be manipulated on a computer screen in seemingly infinite ways.”



What does tomorrow hold for design?

Technology will continue to change the way creatives think as digital – and specifically mobile – map out a new generation of advertising, forcing us to work within a smaller, interactive screen that limits space but not creativity.

We’re excited to be in the driver’s seat, defining the expectations of mobile advertising while continuing to push the boundaries of print.