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Catalog Data

overall: 8.3 cm x 5.1 cm x 2.2 cm; 3 1/4 in x 2 in x 7/8 in
Object Name:
Cigarette Box
In 1939, Walter Landor arrived in the United States to help install the British training pavilion at the New York World’s Fair. At twenty-six years old, Landor had left his home in Germany to study art and design in Britain, where he became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society of Industrial Artists. With whispers of war circulating around Europe, Landor decided to stay in the United States and travelled to the West Coast in search of design work. In 1941, Landor and his new wife Josephine Martinelli founded Walter Landor and Associates (today Landor) in their San Francisco apartment. The company specialized in packaging and label design for a number of iconic brands ranging from Marlboro cigarettes to Aunt Jemima to Sara Lee. As the company expanded, Landor’s base of operations moved from his home through several locations until it settled in 1962 on the Klamath, a docked ferryboat in the San Francisco Bay that would become an iconic part of Landor’s own brand.
Philip Morris, now Altria Inc., wanted a new package for Paxton-brand cigarettes. In 1964, Philip Morris released its new humiflex packaging, which used plastic boxes to keep cigarettes fresher. American companies did not use plastic packaging for cigarettes on a large scale, but European companies had made some inroads in plastics. Philip Morris hired DeBell & Richardson to formulate and create the plastic packaging and hired Landor for the packaging design. Landor decided to focus on the Philip Morris crest for the body. Because the cigarettes were menthols, Landor used green for the top and bottom of the package. Philip Morris kept the entire process secret from start to finish with no public testing used for either the plastics or the design, and destroyed any unused samples of the plastic. Philip Morris intended for the entire design to be revolutionary in terms of both style and materials.
Currently not on view
Credit Line:
Bequest of Walter and Josephine Landor
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Data Source:
National Museum of American History