Curtis Allina, the developer of the Pez package

As the year ended we were saddened to hear that Curtis Allina had died. The man who put the head on the Pez dispenser.

There are few packages that have reached the icon status of the Pez candy dispenser. For over 50 years it has been collected by enthusiasts all over the world, adored by children, and just plain fun.

As it is typically told, the story seems to be simple. In 1955, Pez was a rather austerely packaged brand of mints from Austria. Mr. Allina went to his European management and suggested putting heads of famous TV characters, popular cartoon figures and well known historical figures on the dispenser. You know the rest of the story.

Here is the NY Times obit, and the brief Wikipedia listing.

The image above is from The Burlingame Museum of Pez.


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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