Landor Associates

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Landor Associates
HeadquartersSan Francisco
Key people
Walter Landor
OwnerWPP plc
ParentYoung & Rubicam

Landor Associates is a brand consulting firm founded in 1941 by Walter Landor, who pioneered some research, design, and consulting methods that the branding industry still uses.[1]

Headquartered in San Francisco, the company maintains 26 offices in 20 countries, including China, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Africa, and the United States.[2] Landor is a member of the Young & Rubicam Group network within WPP plc, the world's largest advertising company by revenues.[3]

Landor's work includes brand research and valuation, brand strategy and architecture, brand purpose and green design, corporate identity and packaging design, innovation, naming and writing, branded experience[clarification needed], brand equity management, employee engagement[clarification needed], and digital branding.[4]



German immigrant Walter Landor and his wife Josephine (the original "associate") founded the company in 1941.[5] Walter Landor intended to "...concentrate on designing everyday products that would make life more pleasant and more beautiful."[5]

Some of Landor's earliest designs were beer company logos that earned awards from the Brewers Association of America and the Small Brewers Association.[6] For Arrowhead, Landor created a tilt bottle with two flat sides that could be poured without being lifted from the table.[1] This unique design won several awards, drew media attention, and brought additional business to the firm.[7] It was also selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce to appear in three International Trade Fairs.[1]

Walter Landor favored what he felt was a client-driven approach. He was one of the first to apply consumer research to package design, and relied heavily on observing consumers in real-life situations—even soliciting in-store feedback from shoppers regarding label design.[8] In Walter Landor's philosophy, "The package itself must do the talking."[9]

As Landor's reputation grew, the company's client list expanded to encompass airlines, financial institutions, government agencies, hospitality services, and technology firms.[8] Over time, Landor broadened its consulting services to offer corporate and product naming, brand positioning and architecture, retail environment design, copywriting, internal brand engagement, digital branding, and BrandAsset Valuator analysis, corporate identity, and package design.[6]


From the 1960s to the 1980s, Landor Associates established headquarters on board a renovated ferryboat, Klamath, moored in San Francisco Bay.
Walter Landor working on the deck of the Klamath docked in San Francisco Bay (1960s)

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Landor Associates established its headquarters on board the renovated ferryboat Klamath, moored in San Francisco Bay.[10] This unusual arrangement was intended to foster creativity among the firm's employees.[11] Mixing business with pleasure, the Klamath also hosted business symposia, cultural events and parties that included dignitaries, artists, business tycoons and celebrities.[1] Although Landor's business eventually outgrew the ferryboat and moved to larger offices on land, the Klamath has remained its corporate symbol.[12]

Recent years[edit]

In 1989 the company was acquired by advertising agency Young & Rubicam[13] and subsequently became part of WPP Group.[14]

In 1994, the Walter Landor/Landor Associates Collection was established at the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[15] The collection contains business records and personal papers belonging to Walter Landor, oral histories, and portfolio materials such as original designer notebooks.[16]

Since 2004, Landor has published an annual survey of brand strength measured over a three-year period.[17] The Breakaway Brands list is based on data culled from the proprietary BrandAsset Valuator and is regularly cited in business publications including Fortune magazine and Forbes.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Gallagher, Bernard. "Walter Landor, an industrial designer and pioneer in branding, created some of the world's most recognizable packages, brands, and trademarks". Immigrant Entrepreneurship. German Historical Institute. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  2. ^ WPP. "Landor Associates". Our companies. WPP. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  3. ^ WPP. "Landor Associates". Our companies. WPP. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Landor Company Profile". WPP. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b Kelly, Ken and Rick Clogher (August 1992). "The Ultimate Image Maker". San Francisco Focus.
  6. ^ a b Gallagher, Bernie. "Walter Landor: Portrait of a Pioneer". Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  7. ^ "So What's New about Water". Good Packaging. Landor Archive Project, Landor Design Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. n.d.
  8. ^ a b Malherek, Joseph. "Walter Landor: Graphic designer and founder of an influential corporate image consultancy". German Historical Institute. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  9. ^ Unknown (23 November 1956). "Packages Must Speak for Themselves". San Francisco News-Call Bulletin.
  10. ^ Gilpin, Kenneth N. (13 June 2005). "Walter Landor, 81, a Designer of Logos for Giant Corporations". New York Times. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  11. ^ Fernandez, Elizabeth (11 June 1995). "Walter Landor, 81, designer: Driving force behind S.F.'s reputation in the applied arts". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  12. ^ Meyerowitz, Daniel. "The Klamath: Landor's Icon of Innovation". Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  13. ^ Lazarus, George (27 September 1989). "Landor Associates acquired by Y&R". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  14. ^ Unknown. "WPP pays $4.7B for Y&R". Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  15. ^ Unknown. "Walter Landor Biography". AIGA. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  16. ^ Unknown. "Landor Design Collection". National Museum of American History. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  17. ^ McGirt, Ellen (8 September 2006). "10 Breakaway Brands". Fortune. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  18. ^ Roth, Hayes (8 October 2010). "Apple, Disney, Facebook: Breakaway Brands Offer Simple Pleasures". Retrieved 25 October 2012.

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