This week, we're sharing images from a new digital collection in the Hagley Digital Archives ...

Gif showing a selection of containers of Comet, each with a slightly different graphic design.

This week, we're sharing images from a new digital collection in the Hagley Digital Archives, which offers a selection of materials from Hagley Library's collections of  Irvin Koons photographs (Accession 1996.315), Irv Koons papers (Accession 2132), and Irv Koons memorabilia (Accession 2716), all originating from the life and work of the graphic artist, industrial designer, and illustrator Irv Koons (1922-2017).

During a career which spanned nearly fifty years, Koons earned a reputation as one of the most innovative and influential designers in the packaging industry, with awards in nearly every major packaging competition, including being named the Packaging Person of the Year by the Packaging Designers Council in 1982, the fourth year in which the award was bestowed.

While most of us don't give that much thought to how the things we throw away get made or their importance in the marketplace, this gif of alternate possible designs from 1985 for the classic Comet cleanser canister offer a brief glimpse into a disturbing alternate reality into a world in which the objects that make up our day to day lives look just a little bit different (thanks, I hate it).

These collections include materials documenting his work in marketing and industrial design, his efforts to expand awareness about the historical and contemporary importance of packaging in a consumer economy, his work as an educator in the field of marketing and package design, and his work in advocacy on behalf of underdeveloped and developing nations.

Given Koons' status in the field, these collections are also a useful resource for the study of the growth and development of the packaging industry in the second half of the twentieth century. To view it online now in our Digital Archive, just click here!