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New Work: Formica 100th Anniversary Celebration

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Formica® Laminate is one of the most ubiquitous materials in the world, found on millions of surfaces in homes, businesses, schools, restaurants, hotels and virtually every other kind of interior. (Chances are you are sitting at a desk, table or counter topped with it right now.) This year Formica celebrates its 100th anniversary with a special campaign designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut, Abbott Miller and Daniel Weil that pays homage to the remarkable brand and its century of innovation, design and cultural impact.

Earlier this year Formica introduced the new Anniversary Collection of laminates and Formica Forever, the definitive history of the brand, both designed by Abbott Miller. Now the celebration continues with a special anniversary clock created by Daniel Weil and a centennial identity and print campaign developed by Michael Bierut.

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Weil proposed a clock as the anniversary gift because it conveys the passage of time. The forms of Weil’s clock evoke the product design of mid-century Modernism, which is closely associated with Formica’s popularity, especially in America. (The period also helped inspire Miller’s design of Formica Forever, which is partly based on a laminate swatch book from the 1960s.) The hands of the clock feature several laminates from Miller’s Anniversary Collection, while the top of the hour is indicated by the special logo designed by Bierut for the anniversary.

Formica will present the clock to its special friends and clients as an anniversary gift, and Weil designed it to be easily assembled by the recipients, giving them the opportunity to participate in its creation. The clock comes elegantly packaged in a long black box that features the anniversary logo. The face of the clock is comprised of a set of long panels that are connected at the center and open like a fan. For proper placement, the panels are unfolded against a diagram in print instructions inspired by those used for products in design and building.

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An unprecedented customization of the iconic Formica mark, the anniversary identity designed by Michael Bierut and his team updates the familiar “anvil” logo with the word “forever” in place of the brand’s name as the bar of the letter “F.” The word “Forever” not only evokes a commemoration of the past century, but also holds out the promise of the laminates’ resilience and permanence, as well as the enduring power of the Formica brand.

Weil and Bierut discovered that the original anvil logo, often attributed to Raymond Loewy, is constructed of two identical ovals reversed out of the form of the “F.” This “hidden oval” became a graphic element used throughout the anniversary campaign, employed in motifs for print promotions and advertising, as dimensional forms in product displays for tradeshows, and in the special anniversary products themselves: The shape can be found in the oval face of the clock, as well as in the laminate collection designed by Miller, where it appears as a special pattern called Ellipse.

Project Team

Anniversary Clock: Daniel Weil, partner-in-charge and designer.
Anniversary Identity: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Joe Marianek, designer.
Identity based on the original Formica logo attributed to Raymond Loewy.