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Textile, IBM, ca. 1950

This is a Textile. It was designed by Angelo Testa. It is dated ca. 1950 and we acquired it in 2001. Its medium is linen and its technique is screen printed on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Angelo Testa, the first graduate of the Chicago’s School of Design—the “New Bauhaus”—founded his textile firm in 1947. Designing patterns primarily for use within the architecture and interior design trade, his clients included many of the leading producers of mid-century modern furniture and fabrics, including Herman Miller, Knoll Associates, and Jens Risom.
Little is known about how the IBM fabric was used or how closely Rand and Testa worked on the design. When IBM premiered its boxy, geometric logotype in 1956, designed by Paul Rand, the idea of a coordinated corporate identity system was just taking off. Indeed, Rand’s logo design set the mark for a new standard of graphic communication in business. A corporate identity was intended to be more than a logo, however: it was conceived as a broader program encompassing signage, letterheads, packaging, publications, and more. By presenting the logo in several line weights as well as in solid blue, Rand and Testa imparted a varied tone and texture to the overall pattern of this textile design.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Corporate Calico: Angelo Testa’s Fabric for IBM.

It is credited Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund.

Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Poster, IBM '75
  • offset lithograph on white paper.
  • Gift of Marion S. Rand.
  • 2002-11-21

Its dimensions are

H x W: 276.9 × 133.7 cm (9 ft. 1 in. × 52 5/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, IBM, ca. 1950; Designed by Angelo Testa (American, 1921–1984); USA; linen; H x W: 276.9 × 133.7 cm (9 ft. 1 in. × 52 5/8 in.); Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund; 2001-1-3

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, IBM, ca. 1950 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=2 April 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>