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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Iconic Artwork of Florenz & Frank Clark for Jantzen

In 1916, the Portland Knitting Company (Jantzen) decided to adopt an advertising program and trademark a name. It was collectively agreed that the name “Jantzen” met every branding requirement, and in 1918 Portland Knitting Company was officially changed to Jantzen Knitting Mills.


Jantzens co-founder J. A. Zehntbauer says: "After weeks of discussion and searching for a name which we could use as a trade-mark, we were unable to agree upon any of the many names which were submitted to us. We were using the brand P. K. at the time, the initials of the Portland Knitting Company... Both the names Zehntbauer and Jantzen were suggested to us by our friends, but neither of us was willing to use our own name because it did not sound right to us... Combinations were also suggested; one I remember was "Jan-Zen" or to be used without the hyphen, "Janzen. " Another was "Portknit". Up to the very last minute no one could decide to use either of the names suggested, so one day shortly previous to the time Mr. Gerber brought over his proposed advertising program, I was in his office to order stationery which needed to be printed at once, as we had waited as long as possible to make a decision on the trademark before printing new stationery. After a short conference I gave him the order to go ahead and print the stationery using the Jantzen trademark on all of it. The name of the company of course was not affected, being Portland Knitting Company making Jantzen trade-marked merchandise."



Enter Florenz & Frank Clark. Florenz and her husband Frank Clark were active illustrators/artists in the 1910's onward. All of these pictured artwork and advertisements were done by Frank Clark.



Frank worked as an independent artist with Jantzens advertising agency for Jantzen swimwear artwork. They collaborated, with Florenz doing sketches at a swimclub of divers practicing for the 1920 Olympics, to come up with the iconic logo Red Diving Girl for Jantzen in 1919. She first made her appearance in advertisements in 1920, wearing a daring red suit, stocking cap and stockings, and first appeared on Jantzen swimming suits in 1923. And so it began, the birth of the 'Red Diving Girl'.

The Jantzen Red Diving Girl has remained on of the most recognizable icons in branding history.

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