Graphic Design Inspiration: The Mid-Century Posters of the Container Corporation of America

Earlier this summer, I bought a stack of mid-century New Yorker Magazines at the Brattle Bookshop on West Street in Boston and was delighted to find so many interesting advertisements I could use in blog posts. Some of the more striking advertisements weren’t the fashion ones, but the posters commissioned by the Container Corporation of America. Founded in 1926, the Container Corporation of America manufactured corrugated paper boxes and small containers becoming one of the largest corporations in the country, employing over 20,000 people world wide by 1965. Their poster series entitled “Great Ideas of Western Man” found its way to magazines such as Time, Fortune and New Yorker, in the process making great graphic design accessible to anyone and everyone that read these magazines.

These are some of their posters:

Artist: Louis Danzinger

Artist: Noel Martin

Artist: Jack Gregory

Artist: Shiko Munakata

Artist: Munari

Artist: Xanti Schawinsky

Artist: Herbert Matter

Artist: Herbert Matter

Artist: Robert Andrew Parker

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6 Comments

  1. Banner Creator

     /  October 12, 2011

    Nice collection, but I like the most, Herbert Matter – second one. Is somehow pragmatic and funny.

    Reply
  2. George

     /  October 12, 2011

    The concept on the designs are interesting. I’ve never seen an art like this before but they looks beautiful to me. I would like to put them in a frame and hang them on my living room.

    Reply
  3. What a wonderful find! I’m a huge fan of old advertisements, in large part because of the graphics and the marketing messages. But these pieces from the Container Corporation of America are simply stunning.

    I can’t help but wonder if the Container Corporation of America is still in existence. I’d love to see one of America’s long-established companies come out with a vintage advertising campaign — something that shows how much both the company and our society has changed (or not changed) in the intervening years.

    Reply
    • The Container Corporation of America still exists today and are headquartered in Missouri, however they are now a subsidiary of Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation. They are still making the same products that made them what they are today: cardboard boxes and other containers. The posters and the graphic design that they did is no longer a trademark of the company, but they did produce some outstanding works of graphic design.

      Reply
  4. jane scheff

     /  November 6, 2011

    I have 10, 13 1/2 x 11 inch posters from the Great ideas of Western Man from the Container Corporation. I am not sure if they have any value or not or who would be interested in them. My guess is that they are from the 50′s. Any ideas of what to do with them? Jane

    Reply
  5. Bob

     /  April 9, 2012

    Hi Jane, I don’t know what they are worth either, but I would love to have some of them just to hang ‘em up. let me know if you want to sell them – sheldonhaun@juno.com!

    Reply

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