We all strive for the recognition of our labors. Some seek attribution in the hidden corners and are rarely discovered, others thrive only with more overt notice. We’ve all known designers of both stripes.
I was reading the paper this morning, yes how archaic, and a couple items, relating to different forms of attribution, connected.
As package designers we are rarely, if ever, given widespread credit for the work we do for our clients. It’s just a fact. So I have often admired the high profile designers, like Milton Glaser, who have been able not only to create wonderful work for their clients, but also create personal brands in the process, often adding value for themselves, their clients and at times even consumers.
While reading, I was struck by an example of that in a New York Times ad for two really great brews, Brooklyn Brewery Local 1 and Local 2. The ad had a significant credit line for designer Milton Glaser and Mathew Klein for the bottle photograph. Wow!
Reading further, I was struck again by an article about Lincoln’s gold pocket watch, mentioning a more covert form of attribution, recently uncovered. For years it had been rumored to contain an inscription made by a watchmaker when repairing the watch. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History recently opened the watch and sure enough there were messages scratched and scrawled all over the inside of the watch(shown below). Apparently attributed to several watch repairmen wishing for a more secretive form of authorship.
Lastly the scratches inside Abe’s watch reminded me of a rumor I had heard about my Macintosh 128, bought in January of 1984. The rumor was that there were signatures of all of the developers, including Steve Jobs, molded into the inside of the plastic case. I haven’t opened the computer case, the way the Smithsonian did with the watch, but the image above from the DigiBarn computer museum, shows the watch inscription next to the black and white image of the signatures that are supposed to be inside my Mac. Maybe one day I’ll take a look.
This blog promises to give credit where credit is due, and even occasionally uncovering well hidden.
Brooklyn Brewery Local Number 1 Designed by Milton Glaser
Photograph of Brooklyn Brewery Local 1 is by Matthew Klein
Photograph of Abe’s watch is from The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, who won’t tell us the name of the photographer