Time-traveling designer produces 1970s ads for MP3 player, laptop, mobile phone & gameboy

Alex Varanese's "ALT/1977" post on Behance is as sweet a piece of contrafactual history as I've seen in a lifetime of pursuing this. I want to live in his timeline.

I've explored that idea in this series by re-imagining four common products from 2010 as if they were designed in 1977: an mp3 player, a laptop, a mobile phone and a handheld video game system. I then created a series of fictitious but stylistically accurate print ads to market them, as well as a handful of abstract posters (you know, just for funsies)... The irony is that all post-modern, smugly self-referential retro porn aside, I'd gladly trade in my immaculately designed 21st century gadgets for these hideously clunky, faux-wood-paneled pieces of uber-kitsch. Sorry, Apple.



  1. These ads are spot on…I was born in ’75 but well do I remember these style ads from the back of comic-books and my parents magazines.

    The Pocket Hi-Fi is just money waiting to be made…

    The phone could use just a -slightly- bigger screen; but heck: make it text friendly and I’d buy one…

  2. It’s got a bit of that ol’ OP/Lightning Bolt look to it, well done.
    Remember when… OP (Ocean Pacific) shirts were everywhere, the scarcer pants were objects of desire.
    Much like Lightning Bolt, the pants were easy to find, in this case the shirts were the objects of desire.

    A guy in town (this is in Mexico) got his greedy hands on a pair of OP pants and NEVER took them off, I swear.  To this day, the guy’s nickname is Cerope, translated into English that would be ZeroPee, as in OP.  Now if he could only have gotten his hands on a Lightning Bolt shirt, he would have shone brighter than a thousand suns!

    Oh man, yeah, this is what I’m talking about:

  3. This is just pitch-perfect.

    Absolutely nails that take-your-sweet-kit-back-in-time-fantasy button.

    Okay, now someone introduce Da Vinci to a carbon racing bike.

  4. Ahhh, nothing like fake plastic sticker wood paneling and that burnt orange color. Seventieslicious!

  5. Wow, now I know where all the hopeless gadget fanboys are coming from, if everything looked like this I’d be one of them. 

      1. My theory is that it came from console tv sets with their massive wood enclosures. When tv sets with plastic enclosures started showing up on the market, many of them used woodgrain stickers to reduce the aesthetic shock of the radical change in tv design that was going on. Other consumer devices took their cue from the faux wood plastic tvs and a trend was born.

        1. The wood paneling craze of the 60s/70s.  They covered up nice old walls, and then when paneling fell out of style they just painted it all white!

          These gadgets even incorporate the full spectrum of other colors that were big at the time: various yellows, tans, oranges and browns…

  6. This is where I am hoping 3D printers will eventually take us. If I want one of these, I should be able to just print it out. 

  7. For a second I thought those cellphones were real, albeit just regular cordless phones.  It was the display that tipped me off (and reading the summary), a 1970s phone wouldn’t have a bitmapped display, not even a low resolution one.  Chips were just too big and slow to manage that, especially running off of battery power. 

    Nor would it have caller ID I guess.

    If he had stuck with a 7 segment display just showing a phone number, I would have believed it.  :) 

  8. Big Love for the Atari 2600 VCS wood panels!

    (I bought my first one at Service Merchandise for $136.00 moolahs,)  1979!

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