Monday, October 27, 2014

Classics: New York Life, 1964

This classic logo for the New York Life Insurance Company was introduced fifty years ago this year. During those fifty years, New York Life has continued to grow to become one of leading life insurers in the world, but they kept the logo virtually unchanged. It was introduced in the autumn of 1964 and was commissioned from Lippincott & Margulies, the still-active New York branding firm now known as Lippincott.

The actual logo was designed by Raphael Boguslav (1929-2010) who was employed at L&M at the time and created several other classic marks. At first glance, it may seem a bit un-assuming, just three words stacked in a square. At the time, that solution was a bit more unusual.

Before this symbol was adopted, New York Life had used an oval badge with the initials NYLIC (introduced in 1954), and before that they used an engraving of an eagle feeding its offspring. The Nylic badge had several problems, foremost among them was that it was not recognised outside the company. The fact that it was far from uniformly applied added to this problem.

L&M recommended that the company switch from the unclear Nylic moniker to the more natural sounding New York Life. The typography was inspired by Roman lettering, bringing a classic sensibility. A launch campaign and consistent application ensured that it became well established among both agents and the public at large.

Logo used before 1964.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Ad from November 1964.

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