The oil industry is perhaps the largest, most profitable in the entire world. Everyone needs fuel to heat their homes, cook their food and run their cars. It should come as no surprise that the major brands trying to get you to purchase gasoline and oil for your cars spend a lot on advertising and cool designs to try and get you to use their products. If you want to see some of the most nostalgic, coolest design work ever created, you should check out signage, packaging, vintage designs and gas pumps from the Petroliana era.
Signage and memorabilia from this era goes for a premium among collectors. If you check out eBay you’ll see people shelling out top dollar for these signs of yesteryear. If you are interested in the design aspects of these, you will get tons of inspiration for your own work. Many graphic designers are using the textures of these signs and incorporating them into their own modern work. If you don’t know where to begin with the Petroliana era, check out these 13 cool vintage designs to get started.
Sinclair is a gas company based out of Pennsylvania that staked its claim to fame by using a big green dinosaur as their company mascot. The official company logo uses an italic font, but many of the company’s vintage designs take advantage of bold fonts that really stand for drivers passing by.
Ace High Motor Oil
Ace High motor oil was marketed toward both automobile owners and aviation enthusiasts. Check out the awesome color scheme that uses basic blue and red with white starburst patterns to emphasize the cool logo of the company.
Fuelman was one of the very first gas companies that allowed customers to pay with credit card only and without an attendant on duty. While their business was and still is innovative, it doesn’t come close to their iconic mascot. These signs are some of the most coveted and prized possessions for collectors of Petroliana memorabilia.
This cool vintage design is on a gas globe that went on top of an old-fashion pump. The design itself features the company name in bold lettering with the slogan in a handwritten font. The word “tropical“ is accompanied with a starburst, and there are a couple of palm trees on a somewhat yellow background, perfect for an island feeling.
Eagle and Bear Pure Motor Oil
Eagle and Bear Pure motor oil strived to convey their message by incorporating parts of nature into their vintage design. They also used the eagle, the apex air predator, and the bear, the apex land predator, as company symbols to show off the strength of their product.
Red Head Gasoline
Before Wendy’s was created by Dave Thomas, Red Head Gasoline used an image of a fair-skinned child as their company mascot. The design is simple, but really stands out because of its quirkiness.
How do you show off that your brand of gas is the best? Well you promote yourself with a proud rooster on the front of your cans of motor oil and your gas pumps.
This gulf logo is a vintage design that is still seen in many major sporting venues today. It is basic orange with some white through the middle accompanied by blue lettering.
Chevron is one of the biggest gas companies in the world and it has gone through tons of different brand identifies. The best one is probably this vintage one that stands out with a personality, unlike their current bland signage.
This may not be the best way to advertise your gas station but it sure is cool. The large fireball, without the “Fireball Gasoline“ lettering in it would look great on its own as a vintage background in any of your own designs.
Sky Chief was owned by Texaco and was one of the most trusted places for commuters to get gas. The company’s cool logo gives off a sense of trust and authority that other gas stations of the time didn’t have.
While it may not be one of the best designs around, you’re never going to miss Amoco signage. Their huge torch signs can be seen from a mile away on the country’s highways because they are immense.
Much like the classic Amoco signage, Anderson Prichard, or APCO, was not much to look at, but it was hard to miss because of the massive size of it.
Classic Mobil signage is about as hard to find today as the illustrious Pegasus on it. A sign like the one above can run up to $1,000, and other more elaborate Pegasus signs can cost over $5,000.
If you are interested in learning more about classic Petroliana vintage designs, tune into channels like TLC and A&E. They have shows like “Pawn Stars“ and “Hoarders“ where collectors find these signs and go through their storied histories.