The Branding of Polaroid, 1957-1977, Iconography

giam's picture

Beginning at the top is the Polaroid mark I did in 1958, its application to package design and corporate identity, which is the bottom panel just above the date, 1958. Somewhere in the lower right of the photo is the corporate sign POLAROID, identical to the mark above. I haven't been able as yet to find a better photo.

On the left are package designs for Polaroid Sunglasses, 1962, Polaroid Colorpack and black-and-white filmpacks, package design for a Polaroid Colorpack camera, and to the far left, package design and product identity for Polavision, 1977. At the bottom of the row is a package design and product identity for a Polaroid Square Shooter camera.

In the row on the right are package designs and product identity for Polaroid SX-70 cameras and accessories, dating from 1972, and just below is a photo of package design for Polaroid Pronto! cameras, 1976.

For your information and for what it's worth, I try to post a few times each week with new visuals.

The blog link is:

Polaroid Iconography by giam, 1958 - 1977

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

WOW! I'm truly awed.


Grant Hutchinson's picture

A bit more chat about Paul's marvellous site here.

giam's picture

Thank you kindly, Sharon and Grant. I'm up to the introduction of product ID for sunglasses, 1962, and a new header for the blog. How time flies when you're having fun!

Nick Shinn's picture

Paul, why didn't Bob Gage use a sans serif face for the first DDB ads?

Did it bother you at the time that your ID wasn't being carried over into the design of the ads?

And why isn't the Polaroid logo used as a "signature" at the end of the body copy?

giam's picture

Nick -- Those are excellent questions. DD&B had their own ways of doing things with typography and they used an excellent typographer named Klaus Schmidt to ride herd on their output. At the time that Gage did that ad for the Model 150, Polaroid was a $50 mill. business with an uncertain future and the ad was done before I got into redesigning the packaging. However, DD&B totally ignored my design concepts to the point where they never, ever included a photo of a package in one of their print or tv ads. This bothered me a lot more than the type they used. I can understand their competitiveness but it was IMO counterproductive to effective sales promotion. They made millions with television advertising and major print buys and I'm not aware that they pitched the package design biz, though the major national firms did. Polaroid did not appear at the bottom of the dealer ads because that is where each individual dealer pasted up his usually horrible logo and pertinent info. We tried to separate Polaroid from the schlock as much as possible.

Nick Shinn's picture

Paul, I started work as an art director in 1979 for Raymond Lee, a classic Big Idea art director/copywriter. He always preferred not to show packaging or logo, and if possible not show the product either, relying merely on the genius of the ad to win awards, I mean sell the product. For instance, a photo of two naked feet, with the headline "Pity the poor soles with no Macgregor socks."

secondtoughest's picture

Hi Paul. I saw your blog is linked off of That's going to bring some exposure to your site! He has a lot of readers. How's the bandwidth? ;)

And thanks for the look into the amazing history of this project.

giam's picture

Nick -- Awards were the bane of my existence. Polaroid inhouse staff (not I) sent in the material and attended the awards dinners. I can't ever remember being invited. Once a piece got an award I never saw it again as the inhouse designers glommed onto related projects hoping to cover themselves with glory. I never got any other clients based on awards received. Freelancers could go broke submitting material to the weekly show announcements in their mail boxes. "Award-winning" has become a ridiculous clich

glutton's picture

Yeah, award shows are a big waste of time and money. Most of them are just for-profit enterprises (e.g., LogoLounge) and have nothing to do with promoting or recognizing excellence.

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