The iconic logo for Crate & Barrel was designed by Tom Shortlidge five years after the Chicago housewares company’s humble launch in 1962. The mark hasn’t changed since, making it one of the most durable identities in American retail. Moonlighting for C&B while at the famous Young & Rubicam agency, Shortlidge not only created the identity but was also responsible for the brand’s advertising off-and-on for over 40 years until handing it over to Dangel Advertising in 2006.
Most of the logo comes from Helvetica (perhaps drawn from scratch or modified from a phototype font), but the circular ‘C’ is custom, very similar to ITC Avant Garde Gothic, but with a smaller aperture. It doesn’t quite feel right (heavy on top and bottom) because it’s a perfect circle, not optically corrected.
The Northbrook installation seems to have a slightly more open C and a more angled r terminal. Grounds for assuming it was drawn from some photo type and scaled based on similar materials?
The lowercase r’s make it a pretty obvious tracing. The uppercase C is pretty innovative for 1962. Avant Garde came out nearly a decade afterwards.
This C&B logo was designed in late 1967. While Avant Garde (the font) didn’t arrive until 1970, Avant Garde the magazine was first published in 1967 sporting the ultra geometric lettershapes.
But, yeah, it’s probably a stretch to tag this work with the AG typeface. Detagged!
Stephen, I misread that first paragraph. 1967 makes so much more sense for the logo.
A lot of places say that Avant Garde #1, the magazine, came out in January of '68. Shortlidge made a pioneering decision by using that C. Now I’m wondering where his inspiration came from.
Contributed by CJ Dunn