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Vintage Sport Posters - From to Swim Suits to Swimming to Resorts to Travel and More!

Updated on April 6, 2016

We see sport posters every day. All too often, the sports posters are more about selling, often a magazine, a product, all via an emotion of either love or lust as an inspiration. Sometimes the love is a physical thing, for sports, sometimes, often the love is for the thrill of it all. Yet, there used to be long ago a sport poster that was more than just about love; yes, love was still the emotion the graphic was seeking to evoke but the poster itself was a piece of art. While we still celebrate the cover of the sport magazine cover, let's us return to the vintage sports posters of days gone by where the elicitation of emotion was combined with true artist genius.

Vanity Fair Magazine Cover Celebrating Swim Suits

Vanity Fair Magazine Cover Celebrating Swim Suits
Vanity Fair Magazine Cover Celebrating Swim Suits
Vanity Fair Magazine Cover Celebrating Swim Suits
Vanity Fair Magazine Cover Celebrating Swim Suits

Look Beyond Sexy - See the Art

Sports Illustrated is world renown for its bathing suit issues. And yes, most of us love swimming but let's face it, all of us love the swimming suit issues - gals too - admit it! It is pure fun and fantasy. Yet if we look at the sports posters from long ago, if we look at those posters beyond the flesh tones and curves or drama of the sport, you can see creative lines, artistic colors but most importantly, you see a creative force that conveys seamlessly the love and allure of the sport with artistic lines and colors all at the same time.

Imagine this - take the swimming poster at the right and turn it upside down. What happens is the element of that poster, its colors, its shapes, remain essentially intact (albeit it reverse form). The feel of the flow of the swimming, the graceful lines, the vibrant tones of the water remain and delight us.

I challenge you for one more exercise. Envision the Sports Illustrated cover upside down and what will be your first emotion - I must turn it right side up.

To me, that is the determinate of true art. Can the art work be transposed or turned upside down and still delight the viewer.

OK, for some this may be extreme but stay with me and try to view these posters in a new light, a light exposed for what the artist wish to convey, an emotion drawn to the colors and the lines.

Red Rubber Ball

Vogue Cover Page with Girl in Swim Suit

Beach Art

Fun Beach seen with yellow/white sand, blue water and cabanas in white and red stripes with beach goers in the foreground and houses on the hillside
Fun Beach seen with yellow/white sand, blue water and cabanas in white and red stripes with beach goers in the foreground and houses on the hillside | Source

Vogue and Swim Wear

Sports Illustrated but of course does may be the king of swimwear via their swim suit edition, but Vogue is the queen of all fashion and of course, the swim suit.

One of my favorite swim wear cover photos of Vogue is shown to the right with the girl on her back and a red ball being held in thin air by her toes. Perhaps I delight in that because simply of the art form or perhaps it is reminiscent of the famous song Red Rubber Ball. Or perhaps it simply showcases that all things beach, swimming, water sports is my "red rubber ball."

Selling the Swim Suit with Great Art Creations

Beaches and swim wear to me, don't need to be sold. Yet a long time a go in a place here in not too distant land, there was a wonderful series of advertisements by top swim suit companies and some of their top artwork is provided below.

The purpose was to "sell" the swim suit but the pieces as I mentioned above, evoke a strong emotion that expertly crafted artwork can craft.

For many, the emotion of "modern art" is lost but here in the world of swim suit art, I feel that this artwork touches us all.

From the beautiful eyes and smiles to the seductive look on the last poster; the skin tone, the muscle tone, the vibrant colors all serve to conjure up this intense emotion that only the sunshine waters can cause to rise within us.

Swim Suit Advertisements Vintage Swim Posters

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European Swim Suit Poster

European Vintage Swim Posters

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European Swim Suit Artwork

America did not have exclusive rights on great swim suit art, the European advertising campaigns also weight in very well. With brand names such as Benger out of Sweden. And of course, today, a strong force in the water sports marketplace is an Australian company by the name of Billabong.

Jantzen - The Diving Girl

Jantzen was established out of Portland Oregon not sunny California. And not by a swimmer, surprisingly enough - the origins are from a knitting company and the original owners are said to be rowing club members - the Portland Rowing Company no less. Of course, today's most famous sporting good company continues to reside of the state of Oregon. Can you guess? Stay tune to the very end - sorry to be such a tease!


Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background

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Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black BackgroundDistinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black BackgroundDistinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black BackgroundDistinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background
Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background
Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background
Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background
Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background
Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background
Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background
Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background
Distinctive Jantzen Swim Suit Advertisements on Black Background

Jantzen Diving Girl - Always A Red One Piece

The famous Jantzen girl if you hadn't noticed or remember - always wears a one piece swim suit in red. Strange strategy for selling swim suits - wouldn't you want to mix it up a bit? Oh, but that is reserved for modern day advertising giants such as Google who have such an established brand that they are able to morph it and we still recognize the brand!

Not All Swimming Posters Are Beautiful

Contrary to popular belief, not all swimming posters from long ago are all beautiful. Take a look at this very clumsy rendition of swimming instruction - brings out the land lover in me also! I guess the need for instruction verses sexy design was the ruling course for this poster.

Southport Rhode Island Vintage Swim Poster

Southport Rhode Island USA Colorful Vintage Swim Poster of people playing on the beach
Southport Rhode Island USA Colorful Vintage Swim Poster of people playing on the beach

Travel Advertisments

Smiles - Long After Our Footprints in the Sand Are Gone

Swim Suit Posters to Sell a Destination or Travel

Swim suit posters are not reserved just for selling swim suits or swimming instruction, the swim suit poster also "sells" a destination or travel service very well. Take a look at the poster from United Airlines or the many different artistic posters for a destination. Even the swim suits from girls with socks and bloommers make the beach enticing and fun!

Long After Our Footprints in the Sand Are Gone

The purpose of all of this great artwork - but of course to evoke an emotion and have you buy - buy a swim suit, buy a beach vacation, buy a plane ticket. And yet, the poster to the right so aptly details that "long after our footprints in the sand are gone", it is the emotions, the memories that remain with us.

Quiz Question - Answered

Thank you dear reader for sticking with us this long. As promised the question you have a burning desire to learn....drum roll please...

Who is that famous sporting good company that still resides out of the state of Oregon? A provider of uniforms for the Unites States National Football League. Headquartered in Beaverton Oregon no less - if you guess Nike, you are correct! Give yourself a pat on the back.

© 2015 Kelly Kline Burnett

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