Unimark International was founded in the year 1965, in Chicago, Illinois. Two of the original six partners included Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda, two Italian giants of design. Unimark International quickly attracted a global client base, and coincided with the expansion of the agency operating from five different countries with eleven offices. They were a leading agency in corporate design in the 1960s. Their modernist design output and philosophy attracted clients such as Knoll, American Airlines, Olivetti, Pirelli and IBM.
They operated until 1972. One of the company’s visual identity projects delivered from their Johannesburg office was the design and implementation for DEFY – a south-african manufacturer of electrical equipment. The identity manual consisted of 130 pages of information and brand usage with Arie J. Geurts heading up the project as design director, (who later headed up his own design studio in Los Angeles). The identity uses minimal colour and focuses on a consistent brand blue in all communications.
The brand usage for DEFY, went into great detail from the application of the brand on machine panelling to its use as an advertising tool on bikes, keychains and packaging.
Hans Baumeister state, ‘The successful implementation of the manual moreover proved that the all-inclusiveness and precision of detail characterising the visual identity of DEFY owe their existence not to pedantic minds but to people who are fully conscious of the difficulty of their task’.
The images are a selection of pages from Novum Gebrauchsgraphik, 2, 1974 which were taken from the original loose sheets of the brand manual.