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department store

Woodward's Holiday Catalogues

Woodward's department store chain operated in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada for one hundred years, before its sale to the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC).

In 1892, Charles Woodward established the first Woodward store at the corner of Main and Georgia Streets in Vancouver. On September 12, 1902 Woodward Department Stores Ltd. was incorporated and a new store was built on the corner of Hastings and Abbott Streets.

When The Hudson's Bay Company bought Woodward's Stores Ltd. In 1993, the Museum was permitted to salvage material remaining in the Hastings Street Store; most of the donated material was retrieved from the administration office area; the City of Vancouver Archives also retrieved a large amount of Woodward's material.

Below is the evolution of the cover design for the Woodward's Christmas catalogue. View more of the Museum of Vancouver's collection of Woodward's artefacts in OpenMOV.


 

1) This cover design from 1936 is graphic heavy with its two colour print and no use of photo. There's a play with typography and a constructivism influence that was popular in the late twenties early thirties.

2) This cover design from 1954 is still more graphic focus with the Santa Claus illustration and interesting candy stripped typography but here we start to see the introduction of photographic imagery.

3) By the late sixties the Woodward's logo had changed and they began using the same heading and wordmark treatment: "The Wonderful World of Woodward's Christmas Gifts." The catalogue covers also stuck to using a single photographic image that was very traditional and family orientated.

4) By the eighties the graphic standards started to shift again where the chunky and convoluted messaging is simplified and the logo is placed separately from the heading. The traditional family Christmas image remained.

5) Here the catalogue feels very eighties and is embracing the trends of that time. The imagery shifts to a young, rich couple and plays off ideas of consumerism and spending, rather than family moments and children doing Christmas activities.

6) This summarzing catalogue from 1992 utilizes early forms of computer graphics which we can see the designer having a little too much fun with since I imagine computer graphic programs were still rather novel at this time. There's masking and crop out of a tree onto another photographic background, use of a glow effect and over designed titling with the festive banner. We also see use of the iconic Woodward's "W" taking front and centre.

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