Can you read it? If you can the fine print on all Dr. Bronner’s soap products, it will tell you that “Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! Who else but God gave man Love that can spark mere dust to life!” You might also learn that “Einstein, 1939, after the Nazis & Commies united, proposed spacebombs that destroy all, unless we finally teach the Moral ABC’s the real Rabbi Hillel taught Jesus to unite all in All-One-God-Faith.” There is a lot more preaching on the bottles, boxes and tubes that follow precepts that Dr. Emanuel Bronner passed down after five generations of German-Jewish soap-making tradition.
Born in 1908 to a Jewish family that had been making soap since 1858, Emanuel Bronner was the third generation certified as a master soapmaker under the guild system of the time. In 1929, he brought his formulas for high-quality liquid and bar soaps to America, starting Dr. Bronner’s in its current form in 1948.
Dr. Bronner’s (b. Emanuel Heilbronner 1908–1997) essential vision and philosophy were born out of the tragic fate of his parents and extended family who were murdered in the Holocaust. He believed emphatically that we are all children of the same divine source, and that we must all realize we are “All-One!” or we will otherwise destroy ourselves. His “All-One!” philosophy is based on the insights of the prophets and spiritual giants of the world’s various faith traditions. Dr. Bronner was also grounded in a powerful ecological consciousness, and his soaps are an extension of this simple, natural and 100% environmentally friendly ideal. Bronner wrote his own peace plan, with 30,000+ words typeset in all directions on his labels, to communicate his “All-One!” vision that unites humanity here on “Spaceship Earth”: The Moral ABC.
This past March Dr. Bronner’s launched its “Old & Improved” redesign of the company’s finely printed polemical labels. As you can see (above) they are modeled after the original labels created by Dr. Bronner in 1948. They “preserve and affirm the authenticity and history of the brand.” Dense typesetting of Dr. Bronner’s Moral ABC’s is aided by “improved … readability of our grandfather’s message for optimal bathroom reading,” says the company’s vice president, Micheal Bronner.
Even if the packaging recalls those hand-scrawled, tightly letter- and word-spaced manifestos that are pasted on mailboxes and lampposts, you’ve got to love the continued adherence to the “ALL-ONE OR NONE!” philosophy and the honesty of the brand. In an age where market share is the main motivation, and labels are designed to insure that share, Dr. Bronner’s may be market capitalism’s truest rebel.
PRINT’s Summer 2015 Issue: Out Now!
The New Visual Artists are here! In this issue, meet our 2015 class of 15 brilliant creatives under 30. These carefully selected designers are on the scene making the most cutting-edge work today—and as many of our previous NVAs, they may go on to become tomorrow’s design leaders. Why not get to know them now? Check the full issue out here.