Color Connection #29
Curator's Corner, 6/28/2015

Quick post: Vintage Shiseido ads and some phenomenal brand research!

Once again I have no recollection of what I was searching for when I unearthed this post featuring 25 exquisite vintage Shiseido ads over at a lovely illustration blog called 50 Watts, but oh, what a find.  I picked out a few of my favorites but you really need to check out all of the ads, as they are truly amazing.  

I'd give my eye teeth to acquire either this ad or the products featured in it.

Shiseido ad, 1937

Such an ethereal scene...they really don't make illustrated ads like this anymore!

Shiseido ad, 1938

These last two from the '50s take quite a modern, graphic turn.

Shiseido ad, 1955

Shiseido ad, 1959
(images from

As you may know, Shiseido has its own museum, so it's not totally surprising that someone was able to get these images.  However, even with such a well-preserved history, I was absolutely floored to see an 84-page essay on Shiseido's advertising in the early 20th century, which is linked in the post at 50 Watts.  Gennifer Weisenfeld, a professor at Duke, authored "Selling Shiseido:  Cosmetics Advertising and Design in Early 20th Century Japan" for MIT's Visualizing Cultures curriculum (which sounds seriously awesome).  Because I'm a dork I printed out the whole thing so I can make notes on it as I read.  I'm only about halfway through - over 1200 subscriptions in Feedly takes up most of my reading time - but so far it's amazing so do check it out.  You also need to set aside an hour or so to take a gander at the image galleries, which include a staggering amount of even more ads, plus images of old stores and gifts from the Camellia Club.  And if you want to get really nerdy, you can download the handouts from the course.  Enjoy...and remember, as I've been saying for years, there's a place for beauty in academia and museums.  This is the best proof I've come across in a while.  :)


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