Who Put the Cat in Catalina?

Catalina Island, 26 miles off the coast of California, has a long history of native tribes and gold rush madness. But most interesting is the period when the island was invested in by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr.: He fell in love with the island and, in 1919, bought out nearly every share-holder until he owned controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Company. Wrigley invested millions in infrastructure and attractions in an effort to generate tourism to Catalina.

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He also commissioned the man who designed his iconic advertising campaigns, Otis Shepard. In 1939 he rendered the Doublemint Twins concept (which, according to the current Wrigley’s website, “have been part of one of the most successful and long lasting advertising campaigns ever created. . .  The distinctive billboard campaigns created in the late 1930s by Wrigley art director Otis Shepard fixed the Doublemint twin concept in the American imagination. Shepard’s distinctive airbrush techniques and simple, clear designs were well suited for outdoor advertisements and have been widely recognized in the commercial art field.”

With his wife and fellow artist, Dorothy, Shepard created a branding campaign that defined Catalina in the years when it became the stuff of song.

Thanks to Jim Heimann for the loan of the graphic material.

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For more Steven Heller, check out Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility, one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.

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