In the history of industrial design and engineering, perhaps no other industry is as storied and colorful as the automobile. While we may be on the cusp of a future consisting of self-driving cars that we can experience through virtual reality before purchasing, it’s the marketing and sales tactics that reflected consumer needs and buying habits of yester–century that ultimately helped shape the automobile as we know it today.

In the recently-released Automobile Design Graphics, cultural anthropologist and graphic design historian Jim Heimann takes a closer look at what was the ultimate marketing collateral during the heyday of the automobile: the brochure. Including everything from paint swatches and fabric samples, these brochures became the gateway for selling the public on the latest car model long before the days of Google or even glossy magazines.

Heimann –– along with other notable design historians Steven Heller and Steven Heller –– deep dives into the visual history of over 500 reproductions across 8 decades of rare customer brochures. The result –– while based in graphic design –– gives further insight into how engineering and industrial design were “made sexy” to the general public long before the iPod:


“Testament to a bygone era when cars were, quite simply, the stuff dreams were made of, this book is a visual and informative pleasure for car enthusiasts, designers, and pop culture aficionados alike.”







Automobile Design Graphics is currently available for US$ 59.99 over at Taschen.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.