November 19, 2009

ЯIP: Gunther Kilsheimer, Creator Of Toys R Us Logo

No way, did you know Toys R Us started in Washington DC? It began as a baby furniture retailer in Adams Morgan [in fact, the original store is now a blues bar called Madam's Organ. All the Baby Boomers raised in cribs from TRU would be so proud.]

Only it wasn't called Toys R Us at first. It was Children's Supermart. When Bill Bederman and Charles Lazarus decided to open a Children's Supermart Toys branch in Rockville, Maryland, they wanted a classy sign--until they found out how much it'd cost per letter.

So they needed a shorter name, and that's when their signmaker, Gunther Kilsheimer, a German graphic designer named who'd fled the Nazis with his wife and infant daughter, created the backwards R Toys "Я" Us logo we all know and, uh, know.

Anyway, Kilsheimer passed away August 8 at the age of 86. His son still runs the DC sign company he founded, Art Display Co.

Gunther Kilsheimer, Pioneer in Graphic Arts Passes Away at Age 86 [artdisplayco via designobserver]

2 Comments

That's weird...

Looking for information on becoming a new dad, and I find something that's more about ME!

I remember getting my first Transformers toy (Megatron) from a Toys R Us in Cardiff, Wales....that brings back some memories.

The logo is so well known now here in the UK, I'm not sure it would have stuck in people's minds so much if it weren't for the backwards 'R'...

Darren

Madam's Organ was the original Babies-R-Us? No kidding! I recall a night of near spiritualized carousing there during an overnight stay in DC en route to NYC. I remember drunkenly distributing a boxful of York Peppermint Patties to strangers, asking them to complete the sentance, "When I bite into a York Peppermint Patty ... " It's probably one of those kinds ofnights that, when my daughter becomes a young adult (she's 20-months-old now) I will secretly be in denial that she could be capable of that sort of wreckless abandon. Lord help us parents for knowing the kinds of sins they're bound to repeat!

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