Jay Doblin papers, 1946-1988
The Jay Doblin collection is heavily composed of graphic materials and photo prints, much of it generated in support of his “One Hundred Great Product Designs” research (and subsequent books). But it also amply documents the Institute of Design, with files on student projects/theses, various courses (including some syllabi), space station designs from 1986, Ken Isaccs and his Knowledge Box, and clipping files (mainly from Chicago newspapers) on notable ID achievements (especially student inventions). Doblin also collected dozens of national and international design trade magazines that included his essays and/or profiled ID. Also present are several files that include Dobin’s typed commentary on various topics, including the instructional and institutional health of IIT in the early 1960s. Finally, some files contain information on Doblin’s private practice, including market studies and his work with and for Unimark International.
- Doblin, Jay (Person)
Language of Materials
Records are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
Available for research.
Jay Doblin (1920–1989) studied industrial design at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, graduating in 1942. He designed camouflage for the military before being hired by Raymond Loewy in New York with whom he worked for the next 12 years, much of that time as executive designer managing the office's largest accounts that included Shell Oil, Nabisco, Coca Cola, and BP.
Doblin was appointed as director of IIT's Institute of Design in early 1955, which position he held until 1969. He continued his private design practice and positions, which included a brief stint as a partner in Lippincott and Marguiles, then the country's leading corporate identity firm. In 1964, Doblin co-founded Unimark International, which became the world's largest design firm of that era with offices in seven countries. At Unimark, he worked with the J.C. Penney Company to develop a comprehensive corporate identity program that in 1974 won an IDSA Special Award for the Advancement of Design.
After leaving Unimark in 1972, Doblin formed Jay Doblin and Associates, in Chicago, a firm which has managed innovative programs for Xerox Corporation, General Electric, American Hospital Association, Borg-Warner, and others.
Following the end of his directorship in 1969, Doblin remained on the faculty of the Institute of Design for the rest of his life. His innovations in industrial, product and graphic design, design methods, design theory, and management were widely disseminated through his academic and professional ties. As a teacher, professional, and advocate he continually pushed the profession to extend itself beyond surface roles.
Mindy Pugh, University Archivist 2/28/2020