Cream Ale, AIGA Archives and Life

This post started off as a simple recommendation to try the wonderful new AIGA design archives. It was going to be a supportive but bland description about the great new interface, the elegant look and feel, the intuitive visual search methodology, and of course the wondrous collection.

Then I saw the image above.

I designed this Schaefer Cream Ale package 31 years ago. And seeing it brought back a flood of thoughts about life, careers, clients, design, technology, no technology, 745 Fifth Avenue, my daily commute through Central Park, and beer.

At the time I had been living in Manhattan for a few years, working for George Lois and Clive Chajet, having fun, and doing some super work. Everything from Ocean Spray and Coke packaging, to Rubin “Hurricane” Carter defense posters. Life was great.

Wouldn’t it also be great if we could organize the history of our lives this way?

Push the browse button and relive the important events randomly. Select a year and review 1980 in detail, the year after the Schaefer package was designed, and my move to Connecticut on a 103 degree July day.

Select the red color button and see the old red plaid hunting jacket that my grandfather gave me, that got me through cold Philly art school Winters, or the scandalous bright red “new” Coke packaging I worked on in the mid 1980s.

Select the collections button and find all the music concert images. From my first with Jimi Hendrix at Fillmore East on New Years Eve in 1969 to the most recent Eric Clapton concert at Madison Square Garden just last month.

But then our lives are a bit more complex than a design collection. But take a look at the AIGA archives anyway and it may bring back a few memories for you as well.


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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