just a paper bag?

few paper carrier bags  are as  iconic and immediately recognisable as those of ‘the conran shop,’ and ‘bloomingdale’s.’

the success of the bag is obviously relative to that of the store, but the success of these is also marked in that one only carries the store name in quite small print on a face, and the other only in its gusset.

when sir terrence opened the eponymous ‘the conran shop’ at its flagship site on london’s fulham road in 1987  in the iconic michelin house building, he called on p.y.o.t.t . abranding and design agency. the textile designer (artist and early reader illustrator) sian tucker was commissioned to decorate the new bags. using the art work of the early 20th century ‘orphist’ (see duchamp and leger) movement’s robert and sonia delaunay  as inspiration the bag with one face a piece of abstract art and the other the letter ‘c’ worked in a similar way. the bright colours, and art work and a great store’s reputation are all you need to know, to know where this bag came from.

Arguably the only goods people need these days are food and happiness,sir terence conran.

in the 1960s bloomingdale’s commissioned artists to illustrate their bags, it was at this time that they dropped the store name from the face of the bag. it later appeared on the new ‘brown bags’ in the 1970s in the gusseted side panels. both branding and bag were designed by massimo vignelli. a graphic artist and designer already famed for his work for  american airlines, knoll, ibm and of course the new york subway signs and maps.

“The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness.”  massimo vignelli

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bloomingdales history


the conran shop

google sian tucker for her children’s early readers and art work.

the orphist movement