Designs on Travel

A snapshot of the evolution of emotive design that has tempted and encouraged our travel aspirations.

Beyond the inherent desire for many of us to travel – and keep travelling – there comes a time when we wonder where next?
Since travel opened up beyond the Grand Tour of the highly privileged, tour operators, countries and cities have vied for our custom by the use of emotive images, smart catch phrases and colourful advertising.

In the early days of travel it was the ‘vehicle’ that was the emotive ‘tool’ used; so that the ship, aircraft or train (such as the Art Deco design for Orient Express in our header image and below) provided the temptation to travel; as transport was in its infancy for tourism. The introduction of a new or advanced form of travel, such as VC10 or Concorde, was seen as sufficient encouragement for us to travel; taking precedence over destination.

Gradually, the method of transport was subjugated by the destination in a transition that reminded you of travelling in style but with a goal in mind. Once we have decided whether we would like a sun, sea and sand holiday over a cultural one or a hot climate over a cold; then we’re at the mercy of the marketeer to inspire or sway our choice of destination.

Today, the vehicle is often seen as a barrier to travel – the destination now taking the forefront in marketing.

As with much advertising, it’s often subliminal and exposure to attractive images can have a cumulative effect over time that influences our choice when we’re ready to make one. We’re not the free-thinking inspirational beings we’d all like to think we are – but with travel, we freely elect to be tempted and tantalised.

The main difference now is that posters have given way to transient TV advertising and online exposure, so much so that major Tour Operators are eschewing the brochure in favour of the internet. Our own website is case in point.


We’re exposed to tantalising seascapes, beaches, global landmarks and towering mountains pre and post-Christmas at a time when we’re probably dreaming of warmer climes and the year ahead.
Given the almost infinite choice on offer today for travel, it’s timing and the emotive image which ultimately prevails in our choice of destination; assuming that friends and family haven’t influenced our choice, followed by considerations of budget.

Leaving aside reputation, which must play a significant part in who you choose to entrust with your hard-earned income, once again it will probably boil down to variety of choice and imagery that helps you distil your ideas for this year’s holiday destination.

Today, photography is the go-to medium of choice for the majority of tour operators and travel agents but at the beginning of the last century this was a luxury that either did not exist or was too expensive to utilise.
Clever, colourful design and illustration prevailed in early travel and to some extent could conjure images in the imagination far more effectively than a definitive photograph that leaves no leeway for interpretation.

Similarly, this medium is still used today in the production of ‘collateral’ material, as the Americans call it, to accompany a traveller once they have embarked on their journey – continuing or creating a certain cachet or style to the experience. This enrichment reinforces the message and the experience – such as with the Venice Simplon Orient Express and the timeless Concorde material shown in the pictures here.

When all is said and done, these inducements to travel have also become works of art in themselves, markers for a time of elegance and adventure.

Given that all travel is a desire to be educated, enthralled or entertained, is it any wonder that we thrive on and respond to the images that those who take us there employ.

We wonder what imagery will prevail from this era, when everything has been photographed and reproduced faithfully and interminably. Will we return to illustration and imagination once more?


Cherrie's Notes

Let us tempt you with images and ideas for wonderful holidays to some of the most exotic places on earth.


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