Container Corporation of America - Bringing Graphic Design the Masses
Innovative graphic design in the pre-computer era
I am a fan of ads from the golden age of advertising. Over the last few years, I have been running simple blog, Retro Ads and Graphics.One of the magazines to come into my possession was Fortune, published by Henry Luce. I was so impressed by the quality and innovative ads inside that I started this web site to share them and the hundreds of others that I liked.
Container Corporation of America (CCA), founded in 1926, manufactures corrugated boxes. The ads by CCA were the best in the magazine. It was obvious that the company cared about creating an advertisement that was not only informative, but artistic as well. The company’s founder, Walter Paepcke, was an avid supporter of the Institute of Design in Chicago, and the Aspen International Design Conference. Both of these organizations were influenced by European Modernism. Egbert Jacobsen was hired to be director of design with the company, where the company’s identity program was put in place. He hired many well-known artists and designers to create the ads, including Herbert Bayer, Jean Carlu, Fernand Léger, Herbert Matter and many others, mostly from Europe.
The poster series entitled Great Ideas of Western Man found its way to magazines such as Time, Fortune and New Yorker.
This advertising campaign was conceived by Herbert Bayer, design consultant for CCA. The series, running from 1950-1975, featured prominent artists and designers combining their artwork with quotes from philosophers, scientists and politicians. The CCA logo appears in each ad, though the placement and typography vary from ad to ad.
The ad campaign introduced these artists to the public, who were mostly unaware of the names behind the art. Walter Paepcke understood the value of intelligent, consistent and innovative corporate communication, as is evident with these groundbreaking ads.
In later years, CCA became known as the company responsible for coming up with the universally famous recycling symbol.
I am a graphic designer in the corporate world. I look at all of these ads with a sense of amazement. There were no computers, no simple way to typeset, no programs to bring it all together. The artists had just a vision and the skill to create art from an advertisement.
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