20th Century Travel Posters: A Brief Introduction
Travel posters became popular in the 20th century with the expansion of travel through cruise ships, railways, and airlines. These posters served as advertisements that promised adventure and exoticism to anyone who could obtain a ticket. While typically only the wealthy could embark on such ventures, the imagery of travel posters enticed and mesmerized all who viewed them with the possibilities of exploring a new world. Travel agencies often commissioned the posters themselves, and gained more traction with the public when they employed commercial designers instead of fine artists. These prints were intended to grab the attention of people in travel offices, train stations, airports, and more. Illustrations depicting India played on the intrigue of the unknown, luring prospective adventurers to the subcontinent through images of Indian women decorated in eccentric jewelry, foreign architecture of majestic buildings, stunning landscapes, monumental sculpture that can be found at temple sites, and more.
Despite the advent of the internet, posters such as this are desirable in modern times due to the sense of longing and wonder that they have managed to capture. International travel tended to be a luxurious experience at the time these posters were being created – today, airlines put less effort into enchanting the consumer and it is widely agreed that flying economy class has little appeal. Travel posters of the past century present a level of nostalgia for an age when travel was more exclusive and mysterious.