Get motivated for 2019
Jan 9, 2019 | by Becky Oeltjenbruns
We’ve made it – the first week of 2019 is behind us! Congrats on surviving, but if you’ve made a list of goals or resolutions, you may still be searching for that “thriving” stride in these early days. Fresh off the holidays and surrounded by chaotic news events, it’s completely normal to experience a few hiccups. But, like most things in life, a quick look over our shoulder can help prepare us for what’s ahead. So let’s get motivated for 2019 by traveling back in time to the 1920s.
Times of conflict can often bring people together as they discover shared interests against a common problem. Difficult moments remind us of what’s important and the horrors of WWI required every man, woman, and child to dig deep. Society rallied to, quite literally, save the world. Motivational posters played a big role – giving encouragement and inspiration during the darkest times.
After the conflict, people turned their hearts and minds to rebuilding. Business owners, seeing the positive impact from wartime motivational posters, leveraged this platform to foster a positive working environment. These peacetime posters, commissioned by all types of businesses, were designed to be easily understood, relatable, and eye-catching. Each artistic rendering came with a call-to-action, a communication method which war bond fundraising had normalized. This was not the era of slick marketing – rather, this was honest simplicity. The main objective: work together in harmony for the good of everyone. The other, equally important objective: breed confidence and clarity in a time of unrest.
To ease the worry of employees returning from the frontlines, some companies humanized their messages with fictional characters, such as Bill Jones. A spokesperson of sorts for the British company Parker-Holladay Co., Bill was the trusting paternal figure some workers may be lacking due to the tragedies of the war. Bill’s messages seemed more conversational, almost interactive, than other posters. But wherever the style landed on the spectrum (from homespun to in-your-face), most were the brainchild of one American firm: Mather & Company.
A Chicago-based printing firm, they revolutionized the post-war working environment. These posters weren’t just about safety, these posters were two-dimensional mentors. For the worker, mentally and physically exhausted from the war, he/she may wonder how to provide best for their family. For the employee facing a moral quandary at work, he/she may wonder what the best way is to navigate. While the posters may seem dated by their design, the messages and situations addressed remain relevant. You may be surprised at how many of these posters reflect situations you’re currently facing (I know I was!). So in the spirit of a new year, let’s take a moment to refresh and get motivated for 2019!