The best adverts of the 1940s, as picked by experts

Selection of 1940s ads
(Image credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, UK government, Whitman's, British Railways, Bohn, De Beers, Ford)

The adverts of the 1940s can be neatly divided into two broad categories. First, as the world was consumed by war, governments harnessed the best advertising talent to boost morale and promote policies on the home front through powerful propaganda. Then came the post-war period, and a series of iconic consumer ads that reflected the upbeat and hopeful spirit of the times. 

To bring you some of the best examples of both, we've talked to experts from across today's design and advertising industries. They recall the impact and ingenuity of the best 1940s ads, and explain why, much like the best logos, each design worked so well.

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.