S and W Coffee Can

S and W Coffee Can

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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.
In the 1950s, Walter Landor designed this S and W Fine Foods coffee can in an effort to restyle the company’s coffee products. Within competitive supermarkets, products required appealing and enticing packaging in order to stand out on shelves. Landor's new design featured “aroma lines” for consumers to associate with either hot coffee or party streamers. According to the Landor research, the multiple cups with steaming hot coffee appealed to consumer senses and insinuated abundance. In addition Landor updated the company logo, reversing the color scheme to green on a white background (previously white on green) and positioning a crown above the gold oval. Landor created 19 designs and conducted consumer testing to arrive at this final product. As an indication of satisfaction, S and W awarded Landor a credit line in their full-page newspaper advertisement.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Coffee Can
overall: 8.8 cm x 13 cm; 3 7/16 in x 5 1/8 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Bequest of Walter and Josephine Landor
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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