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Fly TWA: The Art of David Klein’s Travel Ad Designs

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"New York - fly TWA" by David Klein (1956), part of the permanent collection at MoMA
The iconic work of designer and illustrator David Klein defined the Jet Set style. Though he created countless designs for numerous industries during his decades in the advertising industry, he is perhaps best known for his ad work in the 1950s and 1960s for Howard Hughes’ Trans World Airlines (TWA).

When people refer to a piece of visual media and say it “pops,” this is the kind of thing they’re talking about. Klein’s mix of fun, glamour, excitement and explosive color are intoxicating, with a color palette for each poster perfectly tailored to its respective destination. They sell a technicolor travel dream exquisitely.

Born in 1918 in El Paso, Texas, David Klein eventually settled in Brooklyn Heights, New York, which was his home for sixty years. (He died in 2005.) Before his famous work with TWA and other companies and industries, he created window cards and posters for many hit Broadway shows in the late 1940s and early 1950s, including Death of a Salesman, Brigadoon, The Most Happy Fella, The Music Man, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Alice In Wonderland.

The poster pictured here, depicting a stunning illustration of New York’s Times Square, is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Flying never looked so good. In fact, it hasn’t looked this good in decades.

For more, visit the David Klein website: www.davidkleinart.com

4 Comments

  1. Aaron Poskeu Reply

    I have an original of this New York Fly TWA poster. I also have Rome and Spain. They really look awesome in my office on the wall!!

    • George Reply

      I envy your originals! I have a framed print of the New York poster.

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