Best Logo Ever Designed. . .

As a child I knew it was Springtime, not when the crocuses bloomed but when I heard the ringing bells on the Good Humor wagon, which materialized like clockwork every April 1, a block from my apartment house. The white uniformed Good Humor Man was not just some fly-by-night itinerant cream-slinger, but a middle-aged veteran named Harry (I always thought that was his entire name), who each year, for as long as I could remember, stood his post from April  to October (in a heavy coat by then) selling Good Humors on stick and in cup – chocolate eclair, toasted almond and chocolate sundae (ahhhhh the fudge still lingers in my memory) – and on the 4th of July a red, white and blue nutty confection too. Apparently, he took a mandatory two-day class every year on how to be a good Good Humor Man.

If I had to pick the most American of all the logos of the 20th century, it would have to be Good Humor – from the comforting name to the mouth-watering chocolate coated vanilla ice cream pop with a healthy bite out of the top.

Where did Good Humor come from? In 1920 candy manufacturer Harry Burt created “a chocolate coating compatible with ice cream,” says the corporate history. “His daughter was the first to try it. Her verdict? It tasted great, but was too messy to eat. Burt’s son suggested freezing the sticks used for their Jolly Boy Suckers (Burt’s earlier invention) into the ice cream to make a handle and things took off from there.”

Burt called his pop Good Humor bar, based on the widely held belief that a person’s “humor,” or temperament was related to the humor of the palate or sense of taste.

8 thoughts on “Best Logo Ever Designed. . .

  1. Kevin D.

    Do we know if Harry Burt designed the logo?  The choice of font: almost looking like its done by hand, part initial caps and part all caps with one underline; the bite, the black and white squiggles on the bar, and the protruding stick, which isn’t really in the right place in the bar, but covers the word “Humor” just right so it’s readable.
    And let us not ignore the red-white-and-blue and candy-shop awning theme of the smaller logo.
    Do I hear bells in the distance?

  2. Michael Doret

    Steven, you’ve really hit a nerve with this one! As a kid in Brooklyn, the graphics on the side of that truck were forever burned into my consiousness. Seeing that pop with the bite taken out still makes my mouth water. It’s probably one of the most visually influential things I remember from growing up.

  3. Robert Sawyer

    Thank you for this opportunity to pause and remember something sweet from the past. I recall quite clearly the Good Humor Truck/Man coming to our neighborhood in Brooklyn. Although I spent July and August in Camp in New Hampshire, spring’s arrival was announced by the trucks bell’s. Its affect on me, like that of Mr. Carter’s, was nothing short of Pavlovian. At the end of each season, my father would fill the freezer with my brothers’ and my favorite bars—mine was their exquisite Chocolate Eclair. This was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with ice cream.
    Note: On occasions when a Bungalow Bar truck slipped into the neighborhood, we brand conscious kids would sing out: “Bungalow Bar, tastes like tar, the more you eat, the sicker you are.” )

  4. Joanne

    My favorite moment as a kid was the sound of those bells – our driver was called Lorenzo – I remembered his name when I read your post. I lived in an apartment building in Riverdale and the ice cream music would waft its way up the 8 or 10 stories and I would beg for money to buy something – toasted almond, ah. Thanks for the memories!

  5. Roni Mocan

    Now we dread the coming of ice cream trucks and their maddenning jingle. Just yesterday a friend was telling how an ice-cream vendor started shouting to him demanding that he deleted a photo he had taken of his truck…

  6. Larry Launstein Jr

    I’m in the process of creating a corporate ID presence for a bed and breakfast right now. They already had an esablished sign – logo, but I saw the colors, and working with my client, came up with some ideas for an overall color and design scheme that can be applied across the board for consistency. We had noticed that all the other bed and breakfasts in her area did not have a true identity. They just promoted themselves using a front-back brochure, and a rudimentary web site. No consistency in the appearance of the fliers, brochures, envelopes, business cards, letterhead, and a web site. We’re trying for a look of traditional charm, but modern amenities. We are trying to bring those elements together in all designs and raise the bar for bed and breakfasts in her area.

  7. Larry Launstein Jr

    I think I can agree that a logo is not a brand, but part of an over all corporate ID solution. All I have to think about is how the band Chicago used its logo to create a general ID about their music. You knew what it was; you didn’t have to actually know who the band members were or what they looked like. The genius of Jim Guercio, the band’s first producer/manager, shone here.

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