In 1955, the marketing department of the Ford Motor Company tried unsuccessfully for months to name their newest car. In desperation, they turned to an unusual source: the celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Marianne Moore. What Moore lacked in corporate nomenclature experience, she made up for in enthusiasm and imagination: she submitted over two dozen names for consideration, each one more delightful—and unlikely—than the last. In the end, the poet’s suggestions were rejected and the company’s chairman himself named the vehicle. Thus was born the notorious car known as the Edsel.
Pentagram’s 2022 holiday greeting celebrates this unlikely encounter between art and commerce by reprinting in full the rarely seen correspondence between Moore and the Ford Marketing Research Department. The illustrator Seymour Chwast was commissioned to bring Moore’s names to life, imagining what automobiles named “The Intelligent Whale,” “The Dearborn Diamante” and “The Utopian Turtletop” might actually look like.
A limited number of copies of the booklet are available while supplies last. To receive one, simply provide proof of a donation of any size to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Make your donation here, then forward a copy or screenshot of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org.