#41 Whiter & Brighter

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This month’s piece for the Advertising Slogans series features a term that described the sheets & shirts & underwear hanging on the clothesline back in 1950 after the joyful washday experience of a happy housewife (with matching daughter) & her beloved box of Rinso Giant Size Laundry Detergent.

Today you don’t see that term used for detergent much anymore, but rather for the “whiter & brighter” smile of celebrities, professionals, students…& happy housewives.

But there’s one more meaning & it’s just for pixel pushers like me. Anything over 92 is considered “whiter & brighter” in a sheet of paper to print a favorite AmperArt edition on.

#21 New & Improved, one of my favorite AmperArt pieces.
First in the Advertising Slogans series.

How does detergent, fabric & paper get “brighter than bright”? Fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) have been used in many industries, notably the makers of laundry detergent since the early 1960s. The blue crystals in laundry detergent are FWAs. The FWAs work by absorbing ultraviolet light, from the sun or fluorescent bulbs, & then re-emitting it as a bluish light to make colored clothes appear brighter & white ones whiter.

Paper mills have been using FWAs since the 1970s, when paper companies found that they could achieve much higher brightness levels than with bleach alone.

In 1992, the world consumption of FWAs was estimated at 60,000 tons, with the detergent industry consuming 50%, the paper industry 33% & the textile industry 17%.*

On the other hand, teeth whitening is achieved primarily with bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide & scrubbing with baking soda — not by spraying your teeth with fluorescent paint.

*Source: Perry J. Greenbaum, a freelance business & technology writer, can be reached at pjgreenbaum@gmail.com. Excerpted from Pulp & Paper Magazine

Vintage ads: vintageadsandstuff.com

Production notes:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Fonts: Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed, Brush Script (ampersand)

This edition would have been released a week ago, except I stumbled upon a treasure trove of old magazine ads that are viewable online but also available for purchase. I couldn’t pull my eyes away from these incredible examples of advertising art the way it was done way before Photoshop — ruling pens that leaked, T squares that weren’t square, rubber cement that didn’t stick too well and always kept me in suspense whether a piece of type would fall off the board before it went to press.

These vintage ads are not reproductions; they’re actual printed ads that are clipped from those wonderfully oversaturated color glossy magazines of the past century.

A sad note on the website is told best by the curator’s own words: ” About four or five months ago I suffered a stroke which has caused me to forget much of what I am supposed to do to list ads. I am not able to add scanned images or other things to my site, I just don’t remember how.” I offered to assist and I hope he takes me up on it; his site has given me so much joy.

If you want to see these priceless old ads (some are priceless simply because the original ads were already sold but the digital images are still there) and maybe even own an original, visit his site, vintageadsandsuch.com

If nothing else, please pray for the full recovery of this person so he can once again enjoy adding images to his website. 

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Chaz DeSimone

Design. Dancing. Disneyland. Modernism. Nudism. Black Cats or any other color.

7 thoughts on “#41 Whiter & Brighter

  1. I loved the slogan and design, and the perspective on how it has changed in application. Also, I found the information on FWA’s to be fascinating! But, then, I am kind of a nerd myself…

    Thanks, Chaz!

    1. I really enjoyed that article about FWA’s. I’ve been involved with fluorescent colors, as you know, so it was very interesting. Fluorescents lose their intensity over time, though, so paper must eventually fade. I want to check into that.

    1. Actually I wasn’t planning on it. I searched for detergent ads with the words “whiter & brighter” and nothing but teeth whitening came up. I hadn’t thought of that. So it was another HA! — happy accident. The most recent ad I could find for detergent was from 1949! But it’s a beautifully oversaturated mix of colors, and I might even purchase the original. Then that lead to realizing I deal with “whiter & brighter” everyday — and every shade in-between — with graphic design.
      Thanks for your comment, Nancy.

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