One of my favorite things to do in life is to read the obituaries in the New York Times. In fact, I suppose my ultimate life goal, or death goal depending on how you look at it, is to live a life worthy of having an obituary written in the Times when I die. They’re reserved solely for people who’ve led interesting lives.
With that said, today’s NY Times obits included one on Joseph Selame, an advertising legend who created some of the most recognizable brand logos in the history of commerce. He died last month in Florida at the age of 86.
Writes the Times about one of Selames’s genius mind f*cks:
One of the Selames’s most successful branding and naming strategies altered the popular perception of a commercial bank. Before the opening of Apple Bank (after a merger of Harlem Savings, Central Savings and Easter Savings), banks were generally seen as cold and imposing.
Mr. Selame pushed the name Apple and conceived an equally friendly logo including a bright red apple (with a green leaf on its stem) above the tagline “We’re good for you.” Many bank identities at the time were more abstract (Chase Manhattan) or monographic (the interlocking MHT for Manufacturers Hanover Trust); his approach defied those conventions. Using typewriter type rather than a more classical typeface made the title even more informal.
Don Draper would be proud.