Friday, March 10, 2017

John Massey, graphic designer (b. 1931): Carton de Venezuela, 1964 Calendar Posters— On display at the Art Institute of Chicago

John Massey Carton de Venezuela
photographs by versluis 2017
The following text is taken form the Art Institute of Chicago gallery didactics:

One of Chicago’s great design stories emerged from the Container Corporation of America (CCA) in the middle of the 20th century. The CCA’s founder, Walter Paepcke, was an influential patron of the arts and was integral in bringing the New Bauhaus, later folded into the Illinois Institute of Technology, to the city. At CCA he enlisted exceptionally talented graphic designers such as the Austrian Herbert Bayer and the Chicagoan John Massey, whose work for CCA is featured here.

Massey began working at CCA in 1957, and upon his appointment as head of design in 1964 he formed a research arm, the Center for Advanced Research in Design(CARD). The work of CARD extended beyond the traditional work of CCA to projects such as the Chicago Civic Poster campaign. Supported fully by Paepcke, this unusual arrangement enabled great creativity and innovation within a corporate structure. The portfolio of Massey’s work recently acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago demonstrates the designer’s ingenuity across a range of projects.

John Massey (American, born 1931)
John Massey designed this set of posters for the CCA’s subsidiary Carton de Venezuela. The set was intended as a calendar for clients, with each poster representing a different month of the year. The strong, clean lines and bold colors reflect one of Massey’s primary influences, the Swiss school of design. Each poster advertises a line of paper products sold by the company. The poster Febrero, for example, is_an abstracted view of the ends of paper set up 1in an S curve. Throughout the series, Massey favored design over corporate promotion, including only a small logo for Carton de Venezuela in the bottom left corner. These posters represent an overall approach to design by Massey and illustrate the important body of work he deve1oped while the director of CARD.

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