I'm overwhelmed by Alf Lenni's observations regarding the derivative uses of the color stripes I did for Polaroid back in the 1960s and I suggest you click on this link and scroll down for his perceptive comments.
Alf gives his address as Malmo/Copenhagen/Sweden, which is a long way from Cambridge -- or Cupertino, Vienna and Berlin, where these mutations eventually appeared.
The original color stripes were to differentiate between the new Type 108 Colorpack Film and the gray color stripes that identified Type 107 black and white film. On the far left is Colorpack Film Type 88 and its counterpart Type 87 black and white film in the smaller square format.
The color stripes then became the product identity of this specific family of Polaroid products of hardware and film. Other designs identified other specific families of products such as SX-70, Polavision, et al.
Then in 1980, Polaroid management decided to forego further attempts at product identity, most likely to keep the work in house as an economy measure, and rely on an overall one size-fits-all corporate ID approach. I believe this to be the work of a committee. Though I was being retained as design consultant, I wasn't invited to participate in the discussions.
Meanwhile, out west in Cupertino, California, a fledgling computer company calling itself Apple came up with this corporate mark.
© Alf Lenni
Alf Lenni created this graphic showing how the Polaroid color stripes were morphed into the Apple logo. I'm grateful to him for pointing this out as it had never occurred to me that they would use the same percentages of process colors as Polaroid. Apple has since resorted to using silver, white and black.
And then, this, which showed up in the last week of 2010.
And just today, from a Huffington Post story about Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Photo © Huffington Post.
So I guess my question is this: what would these guys have done if I hadn't come up with the color stripes for Polaroid? (BTW, the other Polaroid company is also using the same color stripes.)
Where's the creativity?
Posted by Paul Giambarba on December 30, 2010 at 03:13 PM in Critical Comments -- Good and Bad, Polaroid's Graphic Identity by Paul Giambarba 1957-1977 | Permalink | Comments (6)
There is a madness created by the mischief caused by engineers and marketers who are obsessed with numbers.
It's good that they don't name their children the same way they identify their products.
As if the buying public could possibly remember their numbering systems.
Perhaps, if we gave a damn about numbers.
I mentioned this yesterday during an interview, so you can imagine my glee when I came across this dialogue today in which one instant photo buff tries to explain which film may be used with which camera model.
"Polaroid 600 cameras take 600 film and 660 cameras take 600 film and 779 film.
"Polaroid 664, 667 and 669 are not integral film, which means they can't be used with 600 cameras because they are peel-apart films that can only be used with 100 cameras. . . . .
"Type 100 is a peel-apart film and won't work with 600 cameras [and] Type 690 is an SX-70 film but isn't compatible with 600 series cameras. . . ."
It's why I keep insisting that what I did was product identity.
Package design, on the other hand, can simply be the mindless pursuit of scribbling incoherent numbers and information all over a box.
Never in a million years would I believe that someone would quote a few words I said off the top of my head during the CBS News Polaroid interview, at 00:34 to be exact. I don't know who to thank for this, but if you link to it and scroll down to quotes between Stephen Hawking and Ralph Waldo Emerson, there it is. Paul Giambarba: You know long it takes to do simple? About ten times longer than fast and dirty. Thanks, jf.backpackit.com wherever you are.
Thank you Jim for this:
Insightful, well-researched and illustrated feature on Ludwig Hohlwein, at 100 Years of Illustration and Design. 100 Years is a fantastic new resource from the mind of Paul Giambarba, who is also responsible for the absolutely-mandatory-for-modern-designers blog, The Branding of Polaroid.
Click on the memo to enlarge it. The comments, Ugh! –PW are from Peter Wensberg, VP of advertising and sales at the time; Ugh! Ugh! –WF from Bill Field, director of design. The scan is from a Xerox copy Bill sent to me. The year is 1974 and at that time many of the package designs received Awards of Excellence from the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) in its two consecutive Excellence in Packaging Shows for 1972 and 1974. (We repeated again in the next show, 1976.) Some time in 1958 or 1959 Stan Calderwood had bounded into my so-called office and said, "Ansel Adams is in town and I want you to meet him for lunch," whereupon we repaired to The Original restaurant on Windsor Street where Polaroid people went for the most basic of sustenance. The saving grace was that The O, as it was called, had a license to sell booze. This helped get the food down and considerably raised the noise level. Ansel spoke in a very soft voice. I could swear he said he was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, though every bio I've ever read says he was born in San Francisco. Since I wasn't much of a participant in the lunch conversation, it gave me the opportunity to observe Ansel pitching his work to Calderwood. It seemed unnecessary because he had been under contract as a consultant since the inception of Polaroid photography in 1949 and had just won his third Guggenheim fellowship. There is little I can remember of the conversation beyond this and the matter of zones that Ansel spoke of with great intensity. Later, my photogapher friend and former studio-mate Mel Goldman clued me about the significance of zones in photographic images. PBS recently did a special on Ansel and his work. He is truly a unique American icon and his photographs are spectacular. Equally impressive is his lugging those heavy 8 x 10 cameras up and down the mountains of Sierras. The PBS link is http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/ansel/
This lovely lady from Mt. Vernon, NY, sent this note to Polaroid and it found its way back to Sales and Advertising, and eventually as a Xerox copy to me. A phone call determined that she didn't even own a Polaroid camera. Apparently she liked the package design so much she bought the film anyway and thereupon sent back the contents of the boxes. She ends her note with, "Thank you for adding a little color to my life."
Bless you, S.V.M. of Mt. Vernon, NY.