Graphic Designers Made Their Marks

San Francisco’s Graphic Designers Made Their Creative Marks


Illus­tra­tion by John Craig. Type and page design by William P. Davis.

Walter Landor From the above report by Ken Kelley and Rick Clogher in the August 1992 issue of PBS KQED’s San Fran­cisco Focus maga­zine :
Walter Landor came to San Fran­cisco and founded Landor Asso­ciates in 1941. At that time, the only indus­trial designer around told him “that there was barely enough work to support one designer in San Fran­cisco, let alone two”.
“The designs that have come out of Landor Asso­ciates in the past five decades — whether Walter’s own or those of his skilled colleagues — are a perma­nent part of our culture. But Landor’s greatest creation may be the least tangible one : he turned product brand and corpo­rate iden­tity design from a young, ill-​defined field into a world-​recognized profes­sion. In the process, he turned San Fran­cisco — his adopted home — into a creative hub of those fields.”

These pages : Commu­ni­ca­tion Arts May /​June 1980

Marget Larsen As art director for Joseph Magnin, a store catering to young, smart tastes, Marget was involved in retail news­paper adver­tising. Her design and use of color, with illus­tra­tions by Betty Brader Ashley, built an image for the store. All of the JM design was handled inter­nally and Marget also did the brochures and pack­aging.

She designed many of the ads for the San Fran­cisco agency Weiner & Gossage or Freeman Mander & Gossage or what­ever name they were oper­ating under that week, and also worked as a partner in Intrin­sics, Inc. with Robert Freeman. Intrin­sics created and marketed design prod­ucts and offered creative consulting to clients. “Marget was respon­sible for so many inno­va­tions, and was the very embod­i­ment of ‘What if?’” said Freeman. “She, prob­ably as much as any other, changed the look of adver­tising and graphics in the last gener­a­tion.” Ca

This copy, above, is from the Commu­ni­ca­tion Arts web site. They offer (digital) back copies at : https://​store​.commarts​.com/​s​i​n​g​l​e​-​c​o​p​y​?​P​a​g​e​=35. The story of Marget Larsen is in the March /​April 1988 issue.

One of the most outstanding of Marget’s talents was the complete visual iden­tity that she created for the 1907 Del Monte Cannery (at one time the largest peach cannery in the world). The prop­erty was being converted into shops and restau­rants just steps from Fisherman’s Wharf. The basic iden­tity design was one that she adapted from the tie-​rod washers that held up the massive brick struc­tures. She convinced the devel­opers to alter a whole outside wall to accom­mo­date her Cannery Star. You can see in the signs, the tie-​rod washer in the center of the star.

In addi­tion to the massive amount of recog­nized accom­plish­ments, Marget’s personal collec­tion of her art has been made avail­able at : margetlarsen(dot)com.

A collec­tion from 1958 and years : 1963 to 1967. I found that graphic designers were, and are, often creating other design assign­ments when a new mark is required. One didn’t have to specialize as an “image maker”. The logos, here, were accepted entries in the ADASF (Art Direc­tors and Artists of San Fran­cisco) Annual Exhi­bi­tion, years : 1958 and 1963, ’646566 and ‘67.
Most logos are used as busi­ness stationery. In 1964 no indi­vidual marks were shown. “Direct Mail” was the clas­si­fi­ca­tion title that year. The two exam­ples were “Iden­tity Images”: G. Dean Smith created the wild-​flower cover to repre­sent the Curry Company at Yosemite Park. The little flag held by the figure on the string was sent by mail to tell that : “Nicolas Sidjakov — is moving to — 633 Mont­gomery St. — San Fran­cisco — EX 27754.” 1966 had an exten­sive cate­gory : Trade Marks, Letter­heads, Logo­types, Lettering. The Walter Landor Asso­ciates’ entry was the full alphabet designed for the Cali­fornia Wine Asso­ci­a­tion. They named the type style “Klamath” which was the name of their ferry­boat, as described above.

To those designers, whose creations I have missed, I apol­o­gize.
Some of the logos in the annual publi­ca­tions were too small to show.

Ann Thompson