A complex architecture
Lippincott & Margulies' 1972 logotype and CI for FMC
FMC Corporation (FMC) was founded in 1884 as the Bean Spray Pump Company and manufactured pressure pumps for irrigation. By the 1960s it had diversified and was a major international producer of chemicals and machinery for industry and agriculture.
The rapid post-war growth of American corporations–through mergers and acquisitions–had given rise to an ‘identity crisis’. This catalysed many of the modernisation programmes that took place during the 1960s and 1970s.
Despite being one of the nation's biggest industrial advertisers, FMC was not recognised as the giant it was by its customers, financial institutions or the general public. As the newly elected President and Chief Executive Officer Robert H. Malott described it, they were likely the least-known $1.5 billion-a-year company in the country.
A growing architecture of thousands of products, hundreds of brand names and tens of divisions had led to a complexity and dissonance, and under-utilised FMC’s vast scale. This would change in 1972. Under the direction of Malott, New York-based consultancy Lippincott & Margulies would devise a new nomenclature and design policy for FMC that would bring a much needed systematic and visual coherence to the corporation.
Keep reading to see the various versions of the new FMC logotype, how divisions and brand names were reorganised, and how this was deployed across signage and stationery.