Skip to main content

Lippincott Mercer records

1956-2004
 Collection
Accession: 2206

Abstract

Lippincott & Margulies, Inc., and its successor Lippincott Mercer is a major international design consultancy specializing in corporate identity, image, and marketing. The records consist of a set of the company's magazine, Design Sense.

Dates

  • 1956-2004

Creator

Extent

1 Linear Foot

Historical Note

Lippincott & Margulies, Inc., and its successor Lippincott Mercer is a major international design consultancy specializing in corporate identity, image, and marketing.

The firm was founded by J. Gordon Lippincott, a civil engineer, who opened an industrial design office in New York in 1943. Walter P. Margulies became a partner in 1945. The firm's original focus was on traditional product-oriented industrial design, including the innovative but short-lived Tucker automobile. Within a few years, they expanded into packaging, riding the crest of the postwar transition to a consumer economy. Their first significant packaging assignment was the redesign of the Campbell's Soup can.

By the early 1960s, Lippincott & Margulies had moved away from a more traditional concern with individual products to emphasize marketing and corporate image. It was J. Gordon Lippincott who first coined the term "corporate identity", and the firm pioneered the linking of name, logo, advertising and packaging into an integrated and uniform marketing tool. The firm has numbered among its clients a distinguished roster of consumer goods and service companies and has designed many of our most familiar corporate logos, including those of FTD, Betty Crocker, General Mills, Chrysler, Eastern Air Lines, Del Monte, RCA, American Express, Amtrak, Pizza Hut, Red Lobster, Baskin Robbins, and Infiniti.

Lippincott & Margulies, Inc., was acquired by Marsh and McLennan Companies, Inc., in 1986. Marsh and McLennan is a major management consulting conglomerate. Lippincott & Margulies, Inc., soon began working in tandem with another Marsh and McLennan property, Mercer Management Consulting, Inc. Mercer had developed the application of advanced quantitative modeling techniques to branding issues since the 1970's, and its clients included American Express, Continental Airlines, IBM, AOL, Sprint and Citigroup. In January 2003, Lippincott & Margulies, Inc., was merged into Mercer Management Consulting, Inc., as a division called Lippincott Mercer.

Scope and Content

The records consist of a set of the company's magazine, Design Sense. Although missing four numbers, it is the most complete set extant. Beginning with No. 6, each issue was identified in a continuous number sequence, and the majority had a single theme and title. The title of the serial was changed to Sense with No. 59. The magazine was circulated to actual and prospective clients and contained short articles on marketing and design trends along with case studies derived from the firm's practice.

As a publicity vehicle, the magazine's coverage tends to be broad rather than deep when it comes to describing the firm's actual work. That is, it covers many of Lippincott & Margulies's major clients, but lacks the detail that would have been found in actual design studies and presentations. However, the magazine is copiously illustrated with examples of the firm's designs for logos, signage, packaging, store displays, and the interiors of theme and fast food restaurants. Of particular note is their work with S.C. Johnson & Son (Johnson's Wax), including the design of its pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Apart from the case studies, there are many articles of a general nature charting the changes in the consumer economy over the last half of the twentieth century, including the emergence of a separate youth market, the habits of women shoppers, growing globalization of markets, and the role of corporate image in the volatile world of mergers and divestitures.

Most issues are photocopies of originals held by Lippincott & Margulies, Inc.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Provenance

Deposit of Lippincott & Margulies, Inc.

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Lippincott Mercer records
Status:
Author:
Christopher T. Baer
Date:
1999
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400