Catalogue design through the ages: 1920s – 1960s

Catalogue design through the ages: 1920s – 1960s

We love the style and craftsmanship of old catalogues. They give a feel for the era from which they come and also are a window into the daily lives and aspirations of the people in of that time. Vintage catalogues often reflect the graphic design style and technologies available in that era. Created in a time before computers where the catalogue designers had served apprenticeships and had a level of skill that many designers lack today.

Here is the first in what we hope will be a series of blogs showing examples of catalogue design from the Victorian period right through to present day.


A couple of catalogue page designs from the 1920’s. A period when most catalogues had illustrations of the products

catalogue design around the war

Sears catalogue cover from 1939 and an internal page from 1946. There’s a marked contrast between the glamour of the pre-war catalogue versus the austerity of post war.

1946 french clothes catalogue design, clothing catalogue design, retro catalogue pages

A very glamorous French womens clothing catalogue double page spread design from 1946.

colour catalogue print 1950, design 1950, retro catalogue design

A Kays catalogue page advertising menswear from 1950 and a Kays catalogue cover from 1957. The use of colour print is now almost everywhere through their catalogues.

vintage catalogue design, catalogue designers, old catalogue page designs

A 1960 Philco catalogue page advertising televisions and a Stanley Hand Tools catalogue cover from the same period.

Check out our ‘History of UK Mail Order Catalogues – Part 1’ on our ‘catalogue designers’ site blog: click here