Vintage Travel Posters

Vintage travel posters evoke happy memories of family vacations, honeymoons, and open-eyed adventures around the world.  These wonderfully designed, bright and cheerful posters long ago crossed over from mere promotional works to become both sought-after art and collector’s items.

Travel posters began in the early 20th century as effective advertisements for rail and cruise line companies.  Rail companies promoted destinations along their lines while cruise ships offered customers the chance to dream of exotic locations across the sea.  As the commercial aviation industry began to grow, these posters promoted trips that rail lines could not reach and offered flights that took hours compared with days for a cruise ship journey.  Hotels would soon catch on too, promoting their venues to a global audience via the poster medium.

Travel poster designs were influenced by the art styles of the given period.  Early travel posters were often Art Nouveau-inspired with curved lines.  As the mid-1920’s arrived, Art Deco’s influence on poster design was very evident, as artists used vivid colors and straight lines to illustrate their destinations and travel modes.

Important artists were frequently commissioned by travel industry companies to produce promotional posters.  Among other well-known artists, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler each created travel posters.  Today, collectors of vintage travel posters often search by artist to build up their personal collections.

UIG’s collection features an extensive collection of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, pre-war and mid-century influenced travel posters, some of which are displayed in the slideshow above.  These posters and others from our collection are available for purchase as prints and posters on our merchandising site –

All images in this article and on the Kaleidoscope blog site are available for licensing.  Please contact UIG at


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