The "Little Man" Corner

In about 1961 there was a big advance in the printing industry and it became possible for coloured pictures of biscuits to be reproduced on biscuit wrapping paper.

My Uncle Albert, who was Chairman of the company, pointed out to me that other biscuit manufacturers would now move in this direction and we would have to make plans to adapt our packets as well.  I was faced with the problem that we had a very strong identity with our “Little Man” lattice design plus the seals at the end of each packet.  We would have to move away from this.  The question was how could we do it without losing our strong identity on the shelves.

I decided that the packet design would be in two halves.  The left half would be a plain colour with the company name and the biscuit name on it.  The lattice pattern was to be made smaller and this was put on the right half to keep our identity going.  An illustration of the biscuits would circle the packet between the two sides.

It soon became clear that the lattice pattern would have to disappear one day and it was important that we have a new, strong identity.

I had noticed that National Biscuit Company of America had developed an unusual emblem when was always placed on the face of their packets.  I decided that the best thing to do was to evolve our own emblem and get this firmly established in the minds of the public, and during a period of transition continue to use the lattice wrapper design.

The first thing was to establish an emblem.  I tried sketching various ideas, as can be seen, but eventually decided on the quadrant with the “Little Man” in it.  Unfortunately the “Little Man” was registered facing the wrong way, so I turned him around and faced him inwards towards the packet.  I inserted the words “Bakers Limited Quality” into the curved band.  This was later replaced by the name “Bakers”.  This enabled us to remove another element from the wrapper face.

In order to entrench our corner as rapidly and firmly as possible I made it a rule that the “Little Man” should always be in the same colour and that it should appear on all our invoices, sales documents, price lists, corrugated containers and anywhere else where a paper product was involved.

It was not long before our competitors decided that they must have something similar to our “Little Man Corner”.  It will be seen from the picture that my cousin Desmond in Cape Town decided to use a “Flash” for Baumanns products and Pyotts used a banner across the left hand, top corner.

The other two companies, Weston’s and Three Rings, did not make any particular move in this direction.

Finally, perhaps an amusing observation.  When I told the printers to face the “Little Man” to the right, we did not realize that a mirror image would end up with his waistcoat closing in female fashion, ie. right side over left.  This was corrected about twenty years later.