12 vintage billboard designs

By Mike Jackson

Posted on Sunday, September 3rd, 2023

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Scale—that’s probably the biggest difference in the products commonly referred to as early outdoor advertising and what we now think of as commercial signs. Until the introduction of large-format printers, most signs and billboards were still being hand painted by skilled craftsmen.

The shared skills are evident in the illustrations found in one of my sign-related books, Manual of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, which was published in 1926 by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. My copy of the well-worn book was originally owned by Everett K. White Advertising Service of Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The illustrations and examples in the book were beautifully done, and I’ve referred to them many times over the years. Besides the illustrations, the book is liberally loaded with blueprints for the billboards and wall panels of the time.

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Mike and Darla Jackson operate Golden Studios in Loveland, Colorado, and do a variety of sign-related projects. Mike’s website is www.goldenstudios.com. His email address is golden@goldenstudios.com. You can see more of Mike’s photos at www.tetonimages.com and www.goldenstudios.com.