The American aluminum giant Alcoa is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. In addition, it is the 50th anniversary of its corporate mark, introduced in 1963 when the company celebrated its 75th anniversary (are you with me?). The Alcoa mark is also notable as being one of Bass' early big clients after seriously moving into corporate identity design. Not only was "the Aluminum Company of America" a big company that sold just about anything that could be made from aluminum, it was also a very public brand that advertised nationally.
New trademarks introduced at this time were often simple and abstract, replacing cluttered old shields and seals. Not so this time, as Alcoa had already gone through this process in the mid-50s. At the time a firm known as Harley Earl Associates had designed a striking new mark consisting of two triangles. Unfortunately, the application wasn't as pure. The two triangles were typically enclosed by a rectangle with rounded corners with the brand mark, some additional text and, oh, a miniature version of the old shield symbol. In addition, it was potentially not unique enough to be trademarked.