HKM continues celebrating 100 years with you our customers, dedicated employees, and partners & suppliers. We previously shared our humble beginnings in the Roaring 20’s to the 40’s, if you missed it then follow this link.

Now we turn to the “Booming” 1950’s when Cleveland reaches its peak in population, Hauser King and George Durham become intertwined, and graphic design appears as a profession. The US experiences a booming economy, booming suburbs and most of all the so-called “baby boom.”

HKM During the 50’s
After serving in the US Army, George & Delores Durham moved to Mansfield, Ohio (Rob & Scott’s parents –the current principals of HKM). Howard Stingel hired George to work at Stingel Services –a pioneering Temp Service located in the Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland. At that time, The Terminal Tower was the 2nd tallest building in the US (after The Empire State Building). Hauser-King (the predecessor to HKM) was located ½ mile away in the Caxton Building. Stingel Services used Hauser King to outsource their larger lettershop and typing projects.

Hauser King was owned by Charlie Hauser, who considered himself a scientist and Edward King—who was then deceased. Charlie ran the firm with mixed results. Overtime, Charlie asked Howard to buy the company and in 1958 Howard finally did, and George was sent to Hauser King to learn the business and run the lettershop. In the late 50’s Hauser-King started looking more like a “Mad Men” advertising agency pitching accounts for creative and design services resulting in solid growth well into the 60’s. Then Rob Durham was born in the late 50’s, as part of the largest marketing targets of the century – the baby boomers!

Cleveland’s Booming
Cleveland’s population peaks at 915,000 becoming the 7th largest city in US. The MLB All Star game is held in Cleveland (’54). Cleveland Browns enter the NFL in 1950 and wins the national championship 3 times in the in the decade! The Rapid Transit Authority starts and St. Lawrence Seaway opened connecting Ohio cities to the Erie Canal. First dialysis in US performed at the Cleveland Clinic — solidifying its position as one of the leading healthcare facilities in the country.

Happenings in the World

In the 1950s, the advertising industry saw the beginning of brand awareness. Rosser Reeves, invented the Unique Selling Point (USP). With this tactic, advertisers would create a phrase that summed up their product and then repeat it across all media. Thus, solidifying their product in the minds of consumers. This actually proved to be quite successful as sales increased significantly. One notable campaign that implemented the USP is Lucky Strike’s “It’s Toasted”.

In design — kitsch was in — leveraging high contrast and bold colors. The profession of graphic design appeared and offset printing was introduced accelerating advertising’s speed-to-market. Telemarketing was established and the credit card launched increasing the speed of commerce and expanding the buying power of consumers.

The Korean War was fought (’50-’53) and the Cold War began. Seven Wonders of the World was showing on the Cinerama, “one of the greatest wonders of the world.” Finally, correcting an oversite, Congress passed a resolution officially recognizing Ohio’s Statehood declaring it’s date of entry to be March 3rd, 1803.