Monday, January 5, 2009

Designing the Corvair announcement ads

When I decided to leave Campbell Ewald I was immediately rehired as a freelancer to work on a top secret project, the announcement ads for the Corvair. CECO even set me up in a special office in the GM building. I couldn't let anyone in my office or tell anyone just what I was doing. The CECO employees frequently ran into me and were very curious as to what I was up to. What was I doing in the GM building every day after I had just quit CECO ? This project was so secretive that when I had to have type set I used two or three different typesetters, breaking up the headlines so that they made no sense, then reassembling the words later. I was also frequently in the CECO offices which made the whole thing more mystifying to the art directors and others. I can't remember the time frame but it went on for two or three months I believe. I have always been heavily involved with drawing cartoons and that was the direction I took in designing these ads. It was a fun project and a great way for me to launch my freelance career.





Using solid black drawings with bold type created very strong images that stood out well in the newspapers, the readers couldn't miss these ads ! Thanks to Dave Newell, Chevrolet historian, for sending me all of these images. I, like most artists, have kept only a small portion of all of the work done over the years. It's great when someone like Dave can supply some of these long forgotten items. For those interested in old Chevrolet ads should check out Jim Bernardin's blog ABOUT OLD CHEVY ADS and CHARLIE ALLEN"S BLOG, see my links.


Sam said...

This is great! Not only the drawings are fantastic, but the overall design is as well.

It really isn't that different from movie posters campaigns this days. especially for the fact that the debut date is remarked as one of the main elements (hoping everyone would get their Corvairs on opening day, or at least for them to go see it and generate buzz). You should know better, but I guess that wasn't usual at the time (not even usual this days I think).

Harry Borgman said...

Hello Sam,
Thanks for your kind comments. I had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful country many years ago. I was there on a six week photo shoot for Chevrolet and traveled across Argentina. Check my November 17th post WHAT WAS I DOING 51 YEARS AGO ?. I really enjoyed my stay in Buenos Aires, it's a wonderful city.

Sam said...

Thanks for letting me know! It was very interesting. You were in my city long before I was born. I'm sure some things have changed a lot and some other things probably haven't changed that much, you should come back.
I really enjoyed the story, I have traveled with my family (when I was a kid) to Mendoza and Chile on car, and it's really something.
This February I'll be going deep south of the country, to Ushuaia (World's End, as it is called).

Charlie Allen said...

HARRY.....As usual, don't check your blog often enough. Have no idea why, at 86, i'm so busy....maybe because things just take longer these days. Also, doing a 'paying' job as we speak! On your blog again.....seems like you've had an illustrative 'nine lives'. Impressed, per always, with the diversity and excellence. Will show some Chevy stuff for a week or two....and you'll probably know more about it than I, being there at CE. It's sooo dated now....but it was the 50's!

Harry Borgman said...

Hi Charlie, Thanks for your comments and I'm looking foreword to your Chevy ad posts. As a kid in high school I began working in the art studio of an engraving house and was exposed to a vast variety of work. Their art staff had all been drafted into the army as WW II was in full swing. One day I would have to draw a cartoon, the next day a mechanical object, the following day a brochure layout, it went on and on. The diversity stuck with me and has really helped me enjoy a long and interesting career.

fishmagic said...

Mr. Borgman,
While searching for free Corvair coloring pages for my kids to use for a Father's Day project, I came across your blog. My husband is hard core car enthusiast (he just purchased a '63 Corvair survivor car that doesn't run which he is planning to repair in Chicago and drive to our home in NJ over the 4th of July weekend) and in his free time reads up on all aspects of graphic design. I just glanced at our coffee table, which is currently home to the Clarks Corvair Parts catalog and also a copy of "Universal Principals of Design." He would absolutely love copies of the Corvair posters that you designed, and frankly, so would I. Are you aware of any sources that sell them?
By the way, your January 7 post reminded me of a biography of Leonardo da Vinci that I am partially through. It describes his early apprenticeship, during which time he created (or assisted in creating) paintings, theatrical set designs, tombstones and whatever other artistic projects came in the door. I compare this to a recent comment by my niece, who has a wide streak of creativity. She said she chose the university that she will attend this fall because, although she's an English major, she will be "allowed" to have access to the ceramics facilities there. The other schools apparently restrict facility use to students in the directly associated major. For what it's worth, I agree with your view that diverse experience is the best experience and I think it's a shame that students are forced to "specialize" so early in their educational careers.
Sorry to go on for so long. Thanks for any info you can provide with respect to the posters. Regardless of their availability - they're great. Thanks.

Harry Borgman said...

Hi fishmagic,
Thanks for checking out my blog and for your kind comments.
The Corvair material shown on my blog are a series of announcement ads that appeared in newspapers. I have no idea where you could get copies of them. They were sent to me as small Jpeg images by someone from CORSA, the Corvair Society of America. I'm going to attend the Corvair Convention in Jacksonville, FL on July 13 through the 17th. They are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Corvair and I designed the commemorative medallion for the event. While I'm there I'll ask if any copies of the ads are available.

Harry Borgman said...

Hi fishmagic,
I forgot to mention that since you are a Corvair fan I can send you an article that appeared in CORSA Magazine that tells more about these ads. Just send me your E-mail address.