We were recently asked by The Richards Group, America's largest independent ad agency, to create a series of posters that would double as print ads for Ram trucks. They had seen our Art and Soul of America poster series, and really wanted to apply the rough, WPA-era aesthetic to their ad series.
The ads would be totally illustrated, and would feature the 2012 line of Ram Trucks in scenic vistas in and around various Texas State Parks. The fact that they would be completely illustrated was a big departure from most vehicle ads (and ads in general) because the item being advertised would be solely interpreted/displayed through illustration, which we believed was imperative to maintaining fidelity with the vintage style.
This was the mission: The Ram Truck brand would capture the beauty of Texas landscape in a series of 4 retro-inspired print ads Placed in the Annual Hunting and Fishing Guide. Ram Trucks would be the ‘Official Automotive Sponsor’ of the guide. They wanted us to help them create art like the Illustrative posters created in the 1930s and '40s that stirred the public’s imagination for travel and adventure. They sent us these old WPA posters for inspiration:
This is how the process worked: The creative team at the Richard’s Group wrote some great text for us to infuse into the poster designs. Their art direction team provided us with mock-ups of the general look and feel for each ad and poster, along with beautiful truck photography. Staff designer/illustrator Andy Gregg sketched up scenes that included the landscape, typography, and the truck. Then he set to work rendering 4 Ram Truck ads featuring illustrative renderings of the Lone Star state’s picturesque Rio Grande Valley, Balanced Rock, Enchanted Rock and Lighthouse Rock landscapes as settings for the Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition Outdoorsman, Ram 2500 Power Wagon, Ram 1500 Lone Star and Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn.
The designs took about a month to complete, and we decided to unify the designs more by style, rather than color palette. (A special thanks to intern Aaron Johnson for help with some of the backgrounds as turnaround got tight!)
One component of an authentic vintage poster design is typography. We did extensive research on classic hand-lettering. 2 sources of inspiration came from old bus tickets and from antique typewriter ribbon tins:
It was quite a job to capture the likeness of each vehicle, without adding too much detail. The vintage style prints we were emulating were screen printed in limited colors, so there was a fine line between rendering perfect detail and creating an authentic classic illustration. Andy handled it perfectly.
“This was the perfect opportunity to take a different creative approach,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group LLC. “The use of vintage type-styles, hand-rendered illustrations and muted color palettes create a nostalgic approach to advertising art that we hope will resonate with consumers just as the original posters helped romanticize each national park destination.”
In addition to print ads, posters and postcard sets created from the advertising artwork. They are available for purchase at:
Here is a look at the 4 finished poster designs and postcard set: