Our company founders knew how to find opportunity in adversity. Disruption during World War II provided the chance for an artistic young woman to get an advertising job otherwise filled by men. And a Japanese-American man living in San Francisco was forced to enter a Japanese internment camp in Utah, then offered the opportunity to relocate to St. Louis and start a new life.
Our team's deep roots in successfully navigating through pivotal times speak to why some of our partnerships have lasted more than 50 years and we continue to help clients find success in rapidly evolving environments.
To get more of a glimpse into our history, visit: obata.com/obata-history
Talk about a legacy. Alice Hausner, Russell Hughes, and Richard Haley shared over 60 years together at Obata and in retirement, continuing to get together for a weekly lunch and always attending Obata company events. Alice and Richard were co-founders with Kimio Obata in 1948, and Russell came along about 5 years later. Amazingly, Alice and Richard were still joining company barbecues, canoe floats, and bowling parties well into their eighties.
Learn more about Obata's history and the incredible folks who worked here: obata.com/obata-history
You can't have Super Bowl Sunday without snacks. In total, Americans consume 30 million pounds of snacks during the game. With this fun fact in mind, we partnered with premium dip maker, Happy Buffalo, to launch their new brand right in time for last year's Super Bowl. Now countless homes around the St. Louis area can level up their game-day snack menu with Happy Buffalo's premium spiced chicken dip.
Obata's partnership with Anheuser-Busch goes back to the early 1950s, featuring packaging and label design for the well-known Busch, Budweiser, and Michelob brands, but also including A-B's entire line of beverages. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Obata created Brewery Tour installations for several Anheuser-Busch breweries. The work included a deep dive into the company's archives to create historical timelines, understanding and communicating the brewing process, and extensive original photography of Anheuser-Busch operations. It also included some free beer along the way.
The New York Times wrote that Phyllis Diller's "sassy, screeching, rapid-fire stand-up comedy helped open the door for two generations of funny women". In 1964, Obata created a personalized letterhead for Diller that captured her unique brand with a lively caricature and hand-drawn script. The design won a Silver Award from the Art Directors Club of St. Louis.
Our work for Phyllis Diller demonstrates that the need for brand strategy is not limited to Fortune 500 companies or for-profit companies. Any company or institution that is growing needs to develop a brand strategy that will support future growth.
Learn more about our branding services at: obata.com/expertise/brand-identity-services/
Good design can make any subject understandable, fun, and relatable. That's especially important when your subject is "Exploring Arithmetic". Obata's illustrations for this 1957 textbook showed students how to design a mid-century modern home, how to budget for $77 per month rent, purchase a car with stylish tail fins, buy car insurance for $46 per year, and calculate your favorite player's batting average.
For more than 70 years, Obata has been simplifying complex communications to maximize understanding and inspire meaningful audience-driven action.
With over 70 years of experience creating award-winning designs for global brands, Obata proudly wears the title of Saint Louis' longest-running creative agency like a badge of honor. We've learned what it takes to adapt and evolve, keeping our eyes on future trends while respecting the insight of the past.
To learn more about our history, visit: obata.com/obata-history
The 1959 Emerson-Imperial Lighting catalog is a classic of mid-century design featuring iconic mass-market lighting designs from the height of the MCM era. Working with industrial designers at Emerson, Obata staged photo shoots of fixtures in ultra-modern interiors with contemporary furnishings. The award-winning design of the catalogs Obata created included bold typography, bright colors and full page photography that defined mid-century style for homeowners.
Heading for the mountains of Busch? Obata made those mountains. Few brands survive for over 70 years relatively unchanged, but the mountains remain. In the mid-1950s, Obata's co-founders created the original "Mountains of Busch" for Busch Bavarian beer. The watercolor illustration blended the landscape painting traditions of the Kimio Obata family with the Bavarian heritage of Alice Hausner's ancestors. Today, the snow-covered German village is gone but the stylized peaks of the iconic Busch mountains still reflect creative decisions made by Obata over seven decades ago.
Today's post features an unexpected gift. The Missouri Historical Society contacted us recently about a painting they had in their collection that was attributed to Chiura Obata, father of our founder Kimio Obata. They suspected it was painted by a different member of the Obata family because it did not match the style or signature found in other examples of Chiura Obata's work. The painting is very likely by Kimio. It looks like the work of a commercial illustrator, and the signature matches signatures and logos used by Kimio Obata.
We don't know the history of the painting, titled "Starry Night Winter", but it is a beautiful, peaceful scene and perfect for the holiday season.
Welcome to the early days of the internet. Obata's first website was built in-house using HTML 1.0 way back in 1996. It was cutting-edge for it's time, but a pretty simple affair. Our second website, built in 1999, was the one that really pushed the envelope for its time, featuring innovative design, an animated gif of the Obata letterforms and a custom client portal for file sharing.
Obata has a long tradition of adopting leading-edge technology to serve customer needs. We were among the first creative agencies to enter the digital age, purchasing Apple Mac computers in 1984 to test the concept of "computer-aided design" and eventually adding digital photography, photo imaging, video production and in-house web development.