Vintage Illustrations on Postcards: the Old Still Appeal to the New

Lynne Saarte asked:

Vintage postcards are the thing nowadays. Illustrations that are vintage have been the most popular pictures and images used in many postcard printing projects. In fact, many have even made a collection of vintage postcards as a hobby.

One major factor of these vintage postcards being popular is that the vintage illustrations have helped the postcard printing project to stimulate curiosity and interest of those who are not familiar with a certain era. Attraction have been generated for most people that made it easy for most vintage postcard printing design to catch the eyes of their target readers.

It’s a proven fact though that people are most certainly attracted to things that are unfamiliar to them. Likewise, anything that speaks of, or illustrates an era gone by piques almost anyone’s curiosity. What do people of a certain time have in fashion? Or what is the lifestyle during a particular time?

It seems that the less modern graphics are used, the more attention your postcard printing project can get from your target readers.

But do you know how these vintage postcards came to be? When did they start becoming popular?

From 1939 to the present times, vintage postcard printing first came to being during the photochrome era. This is during the late 1930s. Also known as the Modern Chromes, the postcard printing pieces of that age were catching the eyes of many collectors mostly because of the colors applied. The colors appealed to a population that has embraced color images not only in their postcards, but most importantly in their movie industry. Hence, the popularity of The Wizard of Oz film.

The very first “Chrome” postcard printing pieces were launched by the Union Oil Company in their service stations in the western part of the US. In 1939, they were the most widespread print material in the marketing industry. They were quickly reproduced, with high quality results, and most significantly, they were printed in color.

The spread of these vintage postcard printing pieces were momentarily subdued during WWII because of shortage in supply. But they were later revived and eventually replaced both linen and black-and-white postcards in 1945.

From 1900 to the present, there was also the vintage Real Photo Postcards that were produced from photos and developed onto photographic paper. It is very difficult to know their exact dates because most have lost their postmark or the photographer have not been able to indicate it in their postcards. Hence, there is much confusion in identifying them in the present time as there is nothing to indicate if they are reproductions or not.

Collectors of vintage postcards tell the real from the reel by looking at these postcard printing pieces with a magnifying glass. A real “Real Photo Postcard” has solid picture, while a reprinted one is made up of a lot of little dots.

Then there’s the Art Deco Era (1910 to 1930s) that made popular the vintage postcards that have vibrant colors as their design. Art Deco subjects are usually of the past such as the ancient Greeks, Middle Eastern themes, and Egyptian artifacts, among others. The most common illustrations on Art Deco vintage postcards were ladies in fancy vogue style clothing; as well as the presence of sharp angles and straight lines.

Although these vintage postcard printing has supposedly ended around the 1930s, it was during this era that the greatest volume of postcard printing pieces have been produced.

For comments and inquiries about the article visit:

Postcard Printing Company

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>