I absolutely love retro posters. For some reason the minimalist themes, simple color sets, and style that evokes a powerful feeling of nostalgia is overwhelmingly desirable, and is a style that, when done well, makes me want to buy it and put it on my wall.

SpaceX “Olympus Mons” Poster

SpaceX is leveraging the vintage theme in an artful way – throwing back to old ski resorts and destination travel posters of the past while advertising for a product of the future. I didn’t live in the 20s, but somehow these posters make me yearn for the past and the future at the same time. We talk a lot about the multi-sensory nature of advertising; an appeal to the past, present, and future is yet another way to do that. This sleek yet artful craftiness is an important dimension for what is at its core, a hard science company. Almost no one who sees this poster actually thinks “oh cool, I’m going to buy my tickets to Mars right away!” But this type of publicity is designed to get people on their side. They are being humorous, but they are also completely serious. They are establishing a strong relationship with the public, i.e. making themselves desirable in many ways, in order to enable their breakneck climb to the top of the private space travel market.

SpaceX “Valles Marineris” Poster

Maybe it’s just the nerdiness in me that finds these cool, but based on the number of compliments our roommates have gotten from having these up on the wall in our room, there must be a lot of nerdiness in a lot of our guests as well.