Walter Landor

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For other people with the same name, see Walter Savage Landor.

Walter Landor (born Walter Landauer, July 9, 1913 – June 9, 1995) was a brand designer and the founder of Landor Associates.[1] He was an acclaimed designer and a pioneer of branding and consumer research techniques widely used to this day. Landor Associates, the company he founded in 1941, has offices around the world.[2]

(Walter Landor in 1982).

"Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind," Walter Landor memorably stated.[3] He had a particular gift for creating designs with broad popular appeal,[4] such as the Coca-Cola script.[5] Brands as diverse as General Electric, Japan Airlines, Levi Strauss, and Shell Oil all benefited from his vision and commitment.[6]

Early years[edit]

Landor was born to Fritz and Elsie Landauer, a Jewish family, in Munich in 1913. Fritz Landauer was an architect, and Landor grew up drawing in his father's studio; he realized he wanted to study industrial design instead of architecture early on.[7] In early life Landor's aesthetic sense was influenced by the Bauhaus and Werkbund design movements.[8] He interned at W. S. Crawford, Ltd in London in 1932, and decided to that he wanted to live in Britain.[7] Following his studies at Goldsmiths, University of London , the 23-year-old Landor became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.[9]

In 1939 Landor traveled to the United States as part of the design team for the British Pavilion at the New York World's Fair.[10] He continued west to San Francisco and quickly decided to settle there. "For me it was a city that looked out on the whole world, a city built on the cultural traditions of east and west," he later said. "How could I live anywhere else?"[11]

Landor became associate professor of industrial design and interior architecture at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1940.

Landor Associates[edit]

Landor and his wife, Josephine, launched a design firm in their small flat, working from the living room table.[12] Passionate about his work, he succeeded in attracting clients from a wide variety of fields, adding staff and relocating to larger offices as the need grew.[2] In a move characteristic of his ebullient personality and original business style, Landor bought a retired ferryboat, the Klamath, in 1964 and turned it into his company's corporate headquarters.[13]

Walter Landor working on the deck of the Klamath docked in San Francisco Bay (1960s).

His work included brands like Del Monte, Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Fujifilm, Tab and Bank of America. He also designed the corporate identities for many airlines, including Alitalia, British Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Cathay Pacific Airways, and Singapore Airlines.[14]

In 1985, Walter Landor gave the commencement address at Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, California), where he shared his five secrets for a successful design career; he was also presented with an honorary degree.[15]

In 1994 the Smithsonian Institution honored Walter Landor by establishing a permanent collection of his designs and packaging.[16] Landor died in 1995 at the age of 81.[17]

External links[edit]

Public address
More about Walter Landor


  1. ^ AIGA. "Walter Landor Biography". Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Gallagher, Bernie. "Walter Landor: Portrait of a Pioneer". Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Pithy Quotes". Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ Designers Signature. "Walter Landor". 
  5. ^ Gilpin, Kenneth N. (June 13, 2005). "Walter Landor, 81, a Designer of Logos for Giant Corporations". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ Gallagher, Bernie. "Classics: The work and legacy of Walter Landor". Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Gallagher, Bernard. "Walter Landor". In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 5, edited by R. Daniel Wadhwani. German Historical Institute. Last modified November 08, 2012.
  8. ^ Gallagher, Bernie. "Walter Landor: Portrait of a Pioneer". 
  9. ^ Vinne, Veronique (May–June 1999). "The Brand Named Walter Landor". Graphis no. 321. 
  10. ^ Area of Design. "Walter Landor: Pioneer of the Branding Phenomena". Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ Fernandez, Elizabeth (June 11, 1995). "Walter Landor, 81, designer: Driving force behind S.F.'s reputation in the applied arts". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  12. ^ Kelley, Ken; Rick Clogher (August 1992). "The Ultimate Image Maker". San Francisco Focus. 
  13. ^ Meyerowitz, Daniel. "The Klamath: Landor's Icon of Innovation". Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  14. ^ Gallagher, Bernie. "Classics: The work and legacy of Walter Landor". Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  15. ^ Landor, Walter. "Five secrets for a successful design career". Art Center College of Design. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  16. ^ Smithsonian National Museum of American History. "Archives Center". Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  17. ^ Gilpin, Kenneth N. (June 13, 2005). "Walter Landor, 81, a Designer of Logos for Giant Corporations". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2011. .


Bernard F. Gallagher, senior documentation specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, wrote his masters thesis about Walter Landor: "A Brand Is Built in the Mind: Walter Landor and the Transformation of Industrial Design in the Twentieth Century", The Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York, College at Oneonta (2007). Although his thesis is not yet available online, his research informs the following three articles:

Gallagher, Bernie. "Classics: The work and legacy of Walter Landor", (July 2009),
Gallagher, Bernie. "Coca-Cola: Refreshing an iconic visual identity" (July 2009)
Gallagher, Bernie. "Walter Landor: Portrait of a Pioneer" (July 2009)

Other references