Commercially Christmas

Commer­cially Christmas — And An Antic­i­pated Event: The Pacific Crab-Bash!

December usually inspired Santa on bill­boards, cards, and ads — and Marget Larsen produced many holiday graphic boxes and wrap­ping paper. The ADASF Annual Exhi­bi­tion gave her the Award of Merit in 1965. (Marget also worked at 901 Battery Street during the1980s, where she designed fabrics. I was in that loca­tion in those years and I would meet Marget briefly and also see our long time friend, John Pratt who was then an assis­tant to Marget.)
These outdoor boards are also from 1965.

Holiday Gift Boxes. Artist, Marget Larsen. Art Direc­tors, Marget Larsen /Robert Freeman. Copy­writer, Howard Gossage. Printer, The Finn Indus­tries. Client, Intrin­sics. (Photo: CA Maga­zine, Marget Larsen article, March/April 1988.)
B of A —Photog­ra­pher, Lee Blodget. Art Director, John McDa­nials. Copy­writer, John McDa­nials. Printer, Compton & Sons. Agency, Johnson & Lewis. Client, Bank of America.
OK-Used Cars—Artist, Lowell Herrero. Art Director, Gene Duffy. Agency, Campbell-Ewald. Client, Chevrolet Used Cars.
Yellow Pages—Artist, Henry Syverson. Art Director, Robert Watkins. Copy­writer, Hal Atkins. Printer, Art Craft Poster Co. Agency, BBDO. Client, Pacific Telephone.

At Vicom Asso­ciates / FCB Health­care, I was asked to tie-in “Santa” images with a line of phar­ma­ceu­tical client prod­ucts. The first four exam­ples, below, were for Syntex Labo­ra­to­ries Inc.: 1987, two 4½” X 6 ½” “Happy Holi­days!” cards. The two larger cards (the 2nd, so large, I show only the lower quarter of it) were for the Syntex marketing department.

The 1994 news­paper full-page for Genen­tech, Inc. was produced in one day! Creative director, Lester Barnett, came into my room and asked me to wrap a fir tree around the already posi­tioned type. Then off it went, out the door, and the next morning it was in the SF Chron­icle on December 251994.
I was also free-lancing for Pat Corman Public Rela­tions, repre­senting The Market­place; Santa was requested for their retail ads.

San Fran­cisco suppliers: typog­raphy, paper, and printing compa­nies in those days were so very generous with gifts to those who designed with these suppliers in mind. Pacific Lith­o­graph Inc. was one of the favorite printing houses in San Francisco.

Doug Ballinger, Ed Roualdes and Dick Vrooman — were friends, and after working with them throughout the year — all was cele­brated in December with the crab-feed that topped the “be there” list. The printed invites to this annual event were antic­i­pated and word spread fast of the date when the very best mari­nated crab was served with garlic French bread and with bottles of wine to pick up for your table.

I don’t remember Pacific Litho’s loca­tion; I seem to remember it on Vermont Street. There were places to park, then. After passing through the front door, the din of many voices and the whiffs of the huge amount of crab — pulled you into the huge press­room. The crowd seemed to be the whole of the adver­tising commu­nity and the whole Pacific Litho crew. I remember talking with the pressmen, who were always so busy when we’d be there at a press check.

Here, above, is the iron-on invi­ta­tion created one year by Lowell Herrero. In April 1976, I had moved my free-lancing to the phar­ma­ceu­tical agency, Barnum Commu­ni­ca­tions. In December, word in town was that year’s Crab-Bash invites had been sent — but nothing arrived for me. Rex Simmons, at my previous loca­tion, created this mock-up that got me in the door.

Ann Thompson