Vintage Graphics from the Eames Vaults Posted September 23, 2016 by Daniel Ostroff
For many years, the Eames Office produced the sales materials used to promote their products.
In 1953, the Eames Office photographed, designed, and produced several postcards, including the two seen here featuring Eames chairs in a variety of models.
That same year, in a letter of advice to the California furniture craftsman Sam Maloof, Charles Eames explained the importance of producing such graphics. “The royalty system, under which we work, as do people like Eero Saarinen and George Nelson, has proved most satisfactory and gives the designer a continued responsibility.”
Charles points out that the higher the royalty, the greater the designer’s responsibility. The highest royalty would be paid to those designers who take “continued responsibility to the product, servicing it as far as the design of the literature, exhibitions, displays, public relations, etc., etc. etc.”
Charles reiterates this important point, in his concluding remarks, explaining that “The varying percentage of royalty is usually and should be dependent on the amount of service and responsibility the designer is willing to give the client and the amount the client is willing to accept. If the designer has an understanding of the problem and the ability to view the situation in a round way including the points of view of the customer and the client, then the more responsibility he is willing to accept, the more valuable he will be to the client.”
Read more from the correspondence between Charles Eames and Sam Maloof in An Eames Anthology (112-114).
Clockwise top to bottom: DAX-1 (Dining or Desk-height Armchair, Metal Legs), PSC-1 (Pivoting Side Shell, Contract Base, Upholstered), LCM (Lounge Chair, Metal Legs), DSR (Dining or Desk-height Fiberglass Side Chair)
The Eames Office not only designed the vibrant graphics, but also took the extra step of sourcing the best printers in Los Angeles and overseeing the press run. Pleased with the outcome, Herman Miller asked Charles and Ray to produce similar cards for George Nelson’s designs for Herman Miller.
Other examples of the continuing service Charles and Ray provided to Herman Miller include the Herman Miller Stock Certificate, the architecture and interior design of Herman Miller’s Los Angeles showroom, and many delightful product films.