Dr. Seuss: Before He Drew Great Children’s Illustrations, He Drew Great Ads – Part Two

In March, I first shared my delightful discovery of Dr. Seuss’s advertising illustrations. Before we knew him as Dr. Seuss, he was Theodore Seuss Geisel, adman. As early as 1927 he was illustrating ads for Ford, GE and NBC campaigns. His illustrative style was the same, even then.

After graduating from Oxford, he worked as a cartoonist (not surprisingly) until his cartoons were picked up by an advertising agency. He was hired as an illustrator and was really successful at it. It’s so cool to see these recognizable Dr. Seuss characters in a different setting than his children’s books.

Since my original post, the keepers of the Seuss collection at the UC San Diego Library have uncovered more of his fantastically whimsical work. In honor of the 52nd anniversary of everyone’s childhood favorite, “Green Eggs and Ham,” let’s get Seussical!

According to UC San Diego’s experts, the Seuss we know and adore would not exist without bug spray. Geisel’s first advertising account was a 17-year enduring partnership with Flit bug spray, which sustained his family through the Great Depression and funded his first writing endeavors.

Geisel also worked hand-in-hand with NBC executives, creating both internal and external work.

I personally love this advert for Daggett & Ramsdell beauty products.

Even in the 1930s, Geisel showed his environmental health concern.

Seuss the adman certainly had an innate understanding of visual storytelling. I love the story that each of these faces and characters tell!

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