Mid-Century Expansion

Companies that manufactured and supplied packaging materials were a resource for packaging designers. These companies, as well as printing firms, were often called upon to provide technical and creative assistance and to supply sample materials. Some large industrial corporations, such as DuPont in 1929 and the Container Corporation of America in 1935, created package design development departments. Collaboration between the three sources for packaging design—the design firm, the in-house design group at consumer product manufacturing companies, and the suppliers (manufacturers, preproduction specialists, and printers) persisted from that time on.

In the 1930s, advertising agencies such as N. W. Ayer & Son provided packaging design services. For some consumer product companies, such as Avon Products and Sears Roebuck, the demand for packaging design was so significant that they employed a staff of design personnel. Other businesses hired industrial-design professionals as “consumer engineers” and “product stylists” to apply their artistic abilities toward creating designs that would satisfy consumer demand. These new industrial designers were the professionals charged with the creative leadership necessary to support the modern consumer product industry.

The leaders of modern packaging design were professionals from diverse backgrounds. Walter Dorwin Teague and John Vassos both began their careers in advertising; Donald Deskey, Norman Bel Geddes, Russel Wright, ...

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