If you know me at all, you know I love chocolate. I also love France and all things French. Put the two together et voila! it’s magic. During my time in France and since, I’ve collected a bunch of French graphics, music, books, etc. and recently have been mining them for design inspiration. I’ve put together two collage sheets of French advertising posters for brands of chocolate, which you can see below. But first, some history.
French posters have long captivated not only their intended audiences but also designers and artists. French artists in particular jostled for the chance to get their work placed on posters and seen by multitudes. Some of these included Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Adolphe Willette, Pierre Bonnard, Louis Anguetin, Georges de Feure and Henri-Gabriel Ibels.
The technology needed to produce these posters was invented in the 1860’s by Jules Chéret (1836-1932) whose “three stone lithographic process” allowed the printing of a wide spectrum of colors from just three stones (or plates), using primarily red, yellow, and blue transparent inks. New colors were created where the transparent inks overlapped. This time-consuming process required careful registration (or alignment) of the plates to achieve its desired result of a remarkable intensity of color and texture.
These lithographic, mass-produced posters quickly spread throughout Europe, becoming the dominant means of mass communication in 1870’s Paris and other cities. In 1884 Paris held a major exhibition of this popular poster art. But the 1890’s were the heydey of the poster craze in France with artists of the day like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec contributing masterpieces such as his famous Moulin Rouge of 1891, which elevated the status of the poster to fine art.
If you love these images as much as I do, you’re in luck. I’m offering two vintage French posters advertising chocolates in my shop.
The first one contains six images from the following brands: Delespaul-Havez, Cacao Kwatta, Chocolate Meyers, Chocolats Grondard, and Chocolat Pailhasson of Lourdes.
The second one advertises Chocolat Francois of Bourdeaux, Chocolate des Antilles, Chocolat Amieux-Freres, Chocolat Besnier, and Chocolat Antoine.