Sunday, February 24, 2008

Apple... Who are you? Part 4 of 4

In 1958, designer Paul Giambarba was hired as a freelancer by polaroid, in order to revitalize and polish up polaroids brand. Giambarbas work over the next 25 years was to become some of the most important work polaroid could ever attain. As polaroids plastic fantastic wonderland invaded supermarket shelves everywhere, no eyes went unhypnotized by these delightful dazzling striped packages.

The original 5 rainbow stripes of polaroid met consumers for the first time already in 1968. Wrapping itself around, not just film packages, but also camera packaging. It was to become nothing less than a one of a kind commercial revelation beyond comparison. A simple concept of razorsharp honest appeal, that within a multifarious 1960´s and 70´s design revolution, still managed to both hug and smash consumer familiarity in its tiresome face (simultaniously).

In 1969 a 6th color/stripe was added to the Polacolor and Colorpack range of polaroid. Like seen here on the Polaroid Colorpack II camera packaging.

The sixth color also made it to the front decor of the Landcamera 1000. (1976/77).

According to Paul Giambarbas own blog (and several other sources), the golden years of Polaroid stretched from the years 1958-1977. It has not been possible for me to discover when Paul left Polaroid and where the Polaroid brand really went from there.

But none the less- As i stated in my part 3 of "Apple: Who are you?"- The Polaroid camera was indeed the ipod of the 60´s and 70´s. A statement that i cant spare reinforcing with the quote from Grafik magazines John Weich in his article on polaroid in 2005- "Like Apple today, Polaroid supplemented its superior product with superior branding. . . .". So i guess this means that polaroid and apple fairly obviously share more than just a simpler side of consumer electronics.

Remembering last weeks post on polaroid and apple packaging. Heres the deal: As Polaroid rode out its final years of "bigger" wave of godliness, late 1970´s (presumably around 1976/77). California based apple computers brought out an rather interesting new logo in about the same time, to be exact- 1976. Aside from rainbows being somewhat popular back then, what possessed a "simular" thinking company like apple to use the exact same amount of stripes, within the exact same colorrange, just a year after (or same year) Polaroid ends its official hotstreak?

Let me show you. Here ive taken the exact colors from the Giambarba polaroid logo, made them run into the first "official" brand Apple logo.

So from all of that trouble, all of that fuzz.... them doing what they do best. What am i getting at? Well, my philosophy is that Apple design appeals to us thru Deja Vu. You might not know its origin from the first moment you cast your eyes on an Apple device, but none the less- they have managed to replicate, parallel and concentrate all the greatest actions in design history and squeezed it in to one little affordable dream. A dream we all partially used to recognize fragments of growing up. A dream that today is the very pinnacle of our very society, not just as consumers but as developed consumers. The dream of being able to afford it, understand (without understanding) and live a nice and neat life (without having to pay too much for it).

And my god, we all succeeded.


Anonymous said...

Really great articles. Definently gonna tell people about these. thx. Darrel.

Paul Giambarba said...

Thank you, Alf, for your very perceptive observations. I've taken the liberty of crediting you on my Branding of Polaroid blog for this very keen commentary at