In ancient times the main source to track time passing was provided by looking at the stars in the sky or measuring the course of the sun and the moon, the most salient natural, regularly recurring events relevant for timekeeping. Most of the calendars used to be, and still are, lunisolar (as both the Gregorian calendar and Chinese calendar), as the calendar year would have been divided according to the phases of the moon, but adjusted in average length to fit that of the solar cycle.
In modern culture, the term calendar does not only apply to a way of timekeeping, but also to a specific record of different types of device displaying such a scheme, from personal organisers, to desktop calendars, wall calendars, and so on.
The wall calendar is used to display dates, usually in a table format. This type of calendar is mostly used to keep track of appointments or marking birthdays, thus containing useful information such as days of the week, week numbering, months, public holidays and clock information. Printed calendars also often contain additional information relevant to a particular group or theme; in these cases, the decorative function that these calendars have acquired throughout the years has trumped their main purposes of time and note keeping.
The most common subjects include landscapes, automobiles, wildlife, male or female models and other topics of popular culture. Also, wall calendars are a form of advertising or part of promotional merchandise businesses have been using to give their contact and information away mainly for brand awareness.
The top-rated content of the calendars is mostly travel and lifestyle, religion, food and city life, celebrities and popular culture characters, porn and mundane topics. Some of the most popular calendars include “hot calendars”, such as those published by Playboy magazine, featuring artistic photos of partially or completed naked male and female models in sexy poses.
“THE CAL” – THE MOST EXCLUSIVE CALENDAR IN THE WORLD
According to French fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier, the Pirelli Calendar, also known as The Cal, is “the most prestigious calendar in the world”. It is a “Glamour” trade calendar published by the Pirelli company’s UK subsidiary.
After a never-published mock-up in 1963, the Cal has become an annual publication since 1964, although its release saw an alt of nearly ten years between 1974 and 1984. Initially launched to renew the company’s marketing strategy, the idea turned out to be an entirely innovative project for its day, combining artistic and cultural connotations bringing something completely different from the world of fashion and glamour, albeit with a touch of its perfection.
It was created by British art director Derek Forsyth and it is known for its limited availability, as it is only gifted to some Pirelli customers and celebrities, thus making it a valuable piece for calendar collectors.
At an annual cost of about 2 million dollars, nearly twenty thousand copies of the Cal are published every year. The 45 issues have been issued in the span of fifty years up until 2018; they displayed the work of 35 photographers.
To put it into Chief Executive Officer of Pirelli & C. S.p.A., Marco Tronchetti Prover’s words, the purpose of the calendar is “to mark the passing of time”. The calendar has been doing so by displaying images and shots by the most acclaimed photographers of the moment, who were always able to capture and interpret contemporary culture while setting new trends.
Another peculiarity of Pirelli’s calendar is that it usually displays mainly men and women of different age groups, ethnical backgrounds or different countries, to the point that the calendar was the first ever featuring only dark-skinned models in 1987, which was ground-breaking for that time.
Despite being considered by some somehow provocative or even shocking, the Cal is no doubt one of the most famous and appreciated artistic calendars in the whole world. A calendar which is truly marking the passing of time, not just by counting days and weeks, but literally leaving a mark in the artistic history of wall calendars.
OTHER POPULAR CALENDARS
A popular piece of collection – The Coca-Cola calendar
A famous calendar is the one published by the famous American brand Coca Cola, which has become a sought-after piece of collection for many people adamant to keep track of this international brand’s past history. The first calendars date back to the year 1891 and are for obvious reasons very rare but also greatly historically accurate. Each of them represented a vignette related to the happenings of that specific year and following the style in vogue at the time.
The calendars thus feature the big events of the year to come, as well as the famous bottle of coke either in the hands of a flapper of the Roaring Twenties or of a pin-up of the Fifties, truly and fully representing in just a drawing the core of the American lifestyle throughout the years.
Created by the expert hands of famous artists of the advertising industry of those years, the calendars often would come together with a bottle of coke or cost less than a nickel, while today they may cost thousands of dollars, especially when portraying a celebrity or a special event of a specific era.
A fizzy “red cocktail” calendar
Campari is one of the most iconic Italian alcoholic beverage or aperitifs on the market and, also, one of the most loved.
Since the year 2001, Campari has been publishing an exclusive and limited-edition calendar for branding and marketing purposes. Up until the year 2017, the calendar consisted of shots of celebrities such as Martina Colombari, Jessica Alba or Uma Thurman being shot in sexy poses and Campari-coloured dresses, futuristic attire or captivating backgrounds.
In 2017, though, Campari launched a holistic revolution to the Campari Calendar, on the one hand by changing the whole brand communication, whilst on the other bringing in another feel to the old-fashioned, table format, wall calendar.
In fact, Academy Award winner and director Paolo Sorrentino directed a short film starring globally acclaimed British actor Clive Owen. The key idea behind it was that “every cocktail tells a story” and so does the calendar, through short film each telling a different, evocative story whose main character is always the famous red-coloured cocktail.
Epson. A shot of pure artwork
If Campari is the story teller, the Epson calendar is the tradition keeper.
Every year an Italian photographer of universal recognised fame shoots and mark with their indelible signature each and every month of the calendar. They are shots showcasing the past, culture, and tradition. A limited and numbered edition of the calendars is printed through Epson’s very own inkjet printers in order to prove their quality; the calendar shows little details, breath-taking panoramic views, multiple mesmerising shades and so on. These calendars are considered a piece of collections for their uniqueness, the quality of their print, the talent and experience of the photographers who take part in to their making.
Another type of popular and niche calendar: the advent calendar
The Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count the days of Advent before Christmas, thus drawing the idea from a Christian’s liturgical year, commencing usually at the end of November or, for practical reasons, on the first of December.
Its origin can be traced back in the 19th century when the first styles came from the Protestant communities: usually religious people would make a chalk line for every day in December until Christmas Eve.
Nowadays the traditions have changed, Christmas is now a time of bearing, sharing and receiving gifts, the time of great banquets and of jubilant gatherings.
The Advent Calendar has transformed itself too. In present-days trends, the calendar, each day before Christmas, is filled with treats, from refined scented candles, to chocolates to even miniature bottles of prosecco or even chunk of cheese.
When it had all started with finding a small piece of chocolate for each day of December, now a more excusive version of this calendar has become mainstream and almost the norm for adults who, at the end of the year, feel the need and the right to treat themselves to “something good”.
This calendar, too, is a way of marking the passing of time; brands use it to generate interest before the general shopping spree commences with the main aim of getting coverage and thus outdoing their competitors to increase the chances of prospective sales.
At this time anything can be expected from calendars offering plush and opulent mini gadgets, perfumes, mini-sized bottles of prestigious liqueur and many other alluring accessories. Calendars come in all shapes and sizes, some with very innovative layout trying to tickle buyers’ fancy, while others display a more traditional, heartstrings plucking approach, reminding the customer of the old calendars of years ago all the while hiding behind their little windows some precious, little secret treasure.