Egbert Jacobson (1890-1966)

  • Aspen Design Conference
    Photo Courtesy: Aspen Historical Society
  • Modern roman font designed by Egbert Jacobson
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In 1925, at age 28, Walter Paepcke inherited the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company from his father, transforming it into an industry pioneer in the manufacture of paperboard and corrugated fiber containers (cardboard boxes). From the beginning he sought ways to enhance the company image as apart from the ordinary.  Design was important in his own life and he felt it should be to his employees and customers too.  In 1936, Paepcke appointed Egbert Jacobson, a leader in color theory and typography, as director of design at his renamed company, the Container Corporation of America.

According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, “as director of the Department of Design, Egbert Jacobson dealt with logos, stationery, invoices, annual reports, and advertising, as well as the company’s office interiors, factories, and trucks,” creating a comprehensive image for CCA.  Under Jacobson’s leadership, many well-known artists were commissioned to design national advertisements. In 1946, Herbert Bayer was hired by CCA as a design consultant.

In 1947, Egbert Jacobson designed the house at 850 Roaring Fork Drive, in Aspen, according to the family that has maintained ownership since that time.

In 1951, Jacobson and Herbert Bayer persuaded Walter Paepcke to create the inaugural Aspen Design Conference, later the International Design Conference in Aspen.  The Getty Institute describes the conference as “emulating the Bauhaus philosophy by promoting a close collaboration between modern art, design, and commerce. For more than 50 years the conference served as a forum for designers to discuss and disseminate current developments in the related fields of graphic arts, industrial design, and architecture.”  Aspen Sojourner Magazine (Avant-Garde Aspen, Winter 2013) explains that “appearing alongside such notable architects and designers as Louis Kahn, Charles Eames, Josef Albers, and George Nelson were Stanley Marcus, head of the department store Neiman-Marcus; Charles Zadok of Gimbel’s department store in Milwaukee; and William Connally of Johnson’s Wax, who pointed to the benefits his company enjoyed in publicity and corporate image as a result of its striking modern headquarters designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.”

Egbert Jacobson retired from the Container Corporation in 1956, after 30 years with the company.

International Design Conference in Aspen Video; The First Decade