The Years Fly By: Airline Calendars from the Collection

The Years Fly By
Airline Calendars from the Collection

The promotional airline calendar is an enduring form of airline ephemera that is a marriage of the airlines’ brand identity with an object of daily utility in the home or office. The use of the calendar as a promotional tool for the airlines was forged in the 1930s and ‘40s and became common following World War II. Airlines invested considerable care and attention in making calendars that were visually stunning examples of graphic design. One popular theme for these calendars was the promise of rapid, comfortable travel to cities worldwide. This message was conveyed through scenes of the airline’s exciting destinations often incorporating one of their aircraft as well. Images of the aircraft themselves were another major subject of airline calendars. This is hardly surprising given that the rapid development of aviation technology was a great symbol of progress in the 20th century with which airlines regularly associated themselves. Many national airlines, known as flag carriers, and certain regional carriers linked their airline to symbols of national identity and culture. Art and architecture were often featured subjects for these calendars. In addition to wall and desk calendars, the airlines produced small pocket calendars for their customers’ convenience. These playing-card sized objects feature a distinctive brand image on one side and a small annual calendar on the other.

All works are from the SFO Museum collection.

©2017 by the San Francisco Airport Commission. All rights reserved.

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The Years Fly By: Airline Calendars from the Collection
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Thursday, March 2, 2017 to Thursday, October 26, 2017