Gleem toothpaste carton and tube from RoadsidePictures’s Flickr Photostream
Donald Deskey’s design for Gleem toothpaste made use of overlapping areas of red and blue to create a dark color ground for the Gleem logo to knock-out white.
Brand name practically leaps at you in Deskey’s much admired Gleem design. It utilizes fewest possible elements, bold color blocs in smart, distinctive combination.
-Sponsor Magazine, 1955
Similar to the 1960s Valvoline logo, the overlapping colors combine to make a dark, almost black color on the carton, where the colors were probably overprinted, one on top of the other.
On the tube, red and cyan intersect to make a brighter, dark blue which was probably printed as a third color simulating a color mixture.
In the Gleem commercial below, besides fulfilling our growing interest in the appearance of prop color packaging in early black and white advertising…
… at around 0:25, Deskey’s package gets a sparkly “bling” effect superimposed on the logo—(a prescient glimpse into the future where, today, toothpaste packaging often includes holographic foils, and the like.) Around 0:37, the package appears as a line drawing and metamorphosizes into a photograph of the package. Then at 0:58 the package reappears with a live miniature portrait of the family behind it.
Gleem toothpaste can, (via: Circa Jerk, $195)
The “Push Button Pack” —a shaving cream style aerosol can— was also on the market as an alternative to the conventional toothpaste tube. (The illustration on the right is from a 1958 Life Magazine ad.)
Another interesting application of Deskey’s Gleem package design were these promotion vehicles shown below.
I can’t quite decide whether these box-like signs represented cartons with toothpaste tubes poking out the front, or cubic toothpaste tubes from an alternate rectangular dimension.
(A couple more black & white Gleem commercials, after the fold…)
See also: Deskey’s Drene