Wealthy Baird on Design Historical past
Written by Richard Baird
Posted 16 January 2024
The next is a visitor article from Brand Histories, a weekly Substack publication from the group behind BP&O. Every week, Brand Histories shares the ideas and issues behind logos and company id design of the previous. Examine Saul Bass’ work for Warner Communications, Otl Aicher’s model id for ZDF and Walter Ballmaer’s brand for Olivetti. Uncover these and a 100+ extra right here.
The formation of the Canadian Nationwide Railways (CN) dates again to 1923 when the Canadian authorities merged plenty of bankrupt railroads to type one massive rail community, with Canadian Pacific as its solely nationwide competitor. By the mid-century, nevertheless, shortsighted administration had led to unprofitability. To right this, CN went forward with a programme of considerable modernisation. Steam was changed with diesel, laptop managed programs had been put in, the freight fleet was restored, gear upgraded and its organisational construction revised.
Regardless of this intensive programme, a public angle research involving in-depth interviews with 4,000 adults initiated by CN’s Public Relations Division instructed that the enhancements had been going unnoticed. Canadians nonetheless regarded on the railway as old style and showing the identical because it did previous to modernisation.
With this realisation in thoughts, the pinnacle of CN public relations Dick Wright and assistant Charles Harris (who would later change Wright), instructed that the company revitalise its picture in a means that might outwardly specific the progressive and fashionable enterprise it had spent the Fifties engaged on changing into. This was seen, at this early stage, as a simple mission to develop new brand, with Wright looking for the surface experience of New York designer Jim Valkus to supervise it. “You don’t desire a trademark program – you desire a company design program” was Valkus’ suggestion, put ahead in a four-page temporary on the areas he meant to cowl and the method he would take.