In the evolution of Lamy from a small Heidelberg writing implement factory to the market leader and brand manufacturer of international significance, the birth of the Lamy design brand in 1966 was without doubt the most important milestone. But there are many others which are worth describing in a short journey through time.
C. Josef Lamy, who up until then had worked as an export and branch manager for an American writing instruments manufacturer, set up his own business in Heidelberg, the Orthos Füllfederhalter-Fabrik.
At the beginning of the Second World War, during Which time the young Heidelberg enterprise has to take on armaments work, more than 200,000 fountain pens of the ORTHOS and ARTUS brands are being produced annually.
To mark the start of a new era, three years after the end of the War, the name of the firm is changed from Orthos Füllfederhalter-Fabrik to C. Josef Lamy GmbH.
The streamlined fountain pen LAMY 27, which with its innovative “Tintomatik” system ensures a smooth, clean flow of ink, symbolises the birth of the LAMY writing instruments brand and achieves the firm’s breakthrough on the market.
After studying economics Dr Manfred Lamy enters his father’s firm as Marketing Manager at the age of 26.
With the LAMYexact, Germany’s first ballpoint pen with a large-capacity refill and a tip made of stainless steel, Lamy succeeds in establishing itself on the market for superior ball pens. Sales successes at home and abroad soon make the pen and its modern design a major contributor to turnover.
The autumn of this year sees the introduction onto the market of the first product emanating from this partnership that is destined to remain successful for many years: a fountain pen with the name LAMY 2000, which rigorously challenges the overblown shapes of the design taste of the day.
With its functional shape determined solely by practicality, its brave combination of materials such as stainless steel and Makrolon and its innovative technical details including a sprung clip, this revolutionary writing instrument does not just define new standards for the sector.
For Lamy itself it also marks the beginning of a new era – of distinctive Lamy Design.
Lamy marketing and Lamy product development are orientated to target groups and their differing writing needs. This has an intentionally colourful consequence: With the LAMYstudio, for which again Gerd A. Müller is responsible, young people between the age of 14 and 24 for the first time can enjoy a real alternative to the “adult” fountain pen.
Specialist retailers only are considered by Lamy as distribution partners for its writing instruments. This consistent approach is reflected in formally impressive sales aids such as the new Lamy writing centre, creative sales campaigns and product displays, and not least in the Lamy Distributor Advisory Council.
Dr Manfred Lamy becomes the sole Managing Director of C. Josef Lamy GmbH.
The year in which Germany wins the World Cup is a highly successful one for Lamy, too.
Developed according to the specifications in the recently formulated Lamy design rules, the LAMYcp1 by Gerd A. Müller launches a programme of writing instruments which interprets the theme of “functional design” in a new way and is therefore attractive to new target groups.
The extremely slim, cylindrical all-metal writing instruments not only make more and more national and international design award committees aware of Lamy. Significantly, they are also seen more and more frequently in the hands of design-conscious women.
One of the key reasons for this is that the LAMYcp1 ballpoint quickly becomes Germany’s highest-selling pen in its class.
In parallel to the increasing success on the market, the advertising of the LAMY brand is completely revamped:
Conceived and designed by the Stuttgart-based advertising agency Leonhardt & Kern, the first examples of a new Lamy advertising campaign appear, initially exclusively in SPIEGEL magazine, which evolves through into the 1990s as one of the longest-running and most awarded German advertising campaigns.
A breath of freedom and adventure blows through the halls of the Frankfurt exhibition complex when at the start of the 1980s Lamy launches the new LAMYsafari.
The robust fountain pen made of olive green ABS plastic in an avant-garde style is the outcome of extensive research work in the field of youth psychology and of close cooperation with designer Wolfgang Fabian and the Mannheim Development Group under the direction of Prof. Bernt Spiegel.
The target group of school boys and girls in the age range of 10 to 15 is so impressed by the unusual, casual look of “their” LAMYsafari that they soon take it to the top of the class.
The high technological standards of Lamy can also be seen reflected in the enterprise itself. For example, in the newly built central warehouse, with its high-bay racks equipped with an ultra-modern control system.
Launched with a “White is nice” slogan the LAMYwhite pen becomes the worlds first and most copied writing instrument in white. It also becomes the perfect vehicle for all business to business activities.
Just one year later Wolfgang Fabian excels in capturing and adding to the LAMYspirit of design with the introduction of LAMY logo.
With its innovative clip push-button unit it becomes a definitive and long lasting corner stone of the LAMY range.
The designer Gerd A. Müller is at the height of his creativity and is responsible for two spectacular new Lamy products at one and the same time:
The LAMYunic, with its cylindrical body and its cool, technical aesthetic, clearly distinguishes itself from the wave of nostalgia for writing instruments widespread at the time. It quickly becomes the preferred writing instrument of people who are not afraid of modern technology and who are impressed by innovative product details such as an extendable telescopic tip.
And this is accompanied by the LAMY twin pen, which in its slim metal body contains a huge surprise: when required, this ingenious ball pen converts at a twist into a propelling pencil! It becomes the first modern writing instrument for making notes and for doing sketches, the LAMY twin pen opens the series of multi-system writing instruments which soon become a Lamy speciality.
Lamy celebrates the inauguration of its new injection moulding hall and surprises even sector insiders with an unusual depth of production: toolmaking and injection moulding as well as the manufacture of writing instrument clips, pen nibs, refills and ink cartridges – all of these operations are performed in-house.
20 years of Lamy Design. In connection with the celebrations the entrance to the company is redesigned to reflect the principles of the Lamy Corporate Design. In July, C. Josef Lamy dies at the age of 87.
Children starting school this year have special reason to look forward to their first day in the classroom. They can take with them in their new school satchels a beginner’s fountain pen such as has never existed before. Called the LAMYabc, it is made of wood and toy-red plastic and represents the start of a complete system for learning to write.
Together with teaching experts and the designers of the Mannheim Development Group, under Prof. Bernt Spiegel, Lamy has thus developed the first writing instrument specially designed to meet the needs of children who are learning to write. And has also created a new market which the company leads from the outset.
The medium-sized family firm of Lamy also gains more and more recognition internationally:
For its great commitment to design – from product, packaging and advertising through to the company architecture and design management, Lamy is awarded the newly created “European Design Prize 1988” by the Commission of the European Communities.
Lamy responds to the resulting steadily increasing enquiries from foreign trade partners with a new distribution concept. For example, the European markets are no longer served indirectly through freelance agents but – as in Germany – directly from Heidelberg by the company’s own salaried field staff.
By launching its own ink production, Lamy once again underlines its depth of production and independence.
On Grenzhöferweg in Heidelberg-Wieblingen, not only the reunification of Germany is celebrated but also the 60th anniversary of the company. The invited guests are able to admire for the first time the planted roof garden on the Lamy production halls.
Ecological orientation and environmental awareness are also visible in other areas of the company and in the firm’s marketing measures. For instance, Lamy embarks on new, widely admired approaches in its product packaging with environmentally friendly materials, and in the design of its new trade fair stand created by the designer Dieter Thiel.
The LAMYswift designed by Wolfgang Fabian is an elegant example of the Lamy philosophy that each and every new product should be both a response to a customer need as well as a consequence of innovative writing technology: It writes smoothly and precisely with ball and ink, and thanks to a refined interplay of push-button and retractable clip – a Lamy world patent, by the way – it does not need a protective cap!
Together with Mario Bellini, one of the most important Italian designers, Lamy also develops the LAMYpersona, which meets the reawakened interest in highly priced fountain pens in a new way characteristic of Lamy. As a “fountain pen which has a future not a past” the LAMYpersona becomes a means of expression for individualists who prefer modern design and writing instrument technology.
This year the company’s sales cross the 100 million German Marks threshold for the first time and Lamy proves that the economic use of materials can not only delight accountants but also the friends of functional design:
The new LAMYspirit, from the design workshop of Wolfgang Fabian, is a 6.1-mm slim ballpoint pen or propelling pencil which is shaped from a single small sheet of stainless steel in just a few automated operations.
This is quite a contrast to the likewise new LAMY tri pen, whose cleverly designed, highprecision interior contains not only a ball pen and a pencil refill but also a marker pen for highlighting important texts.
With a nationwide poster and advertising campaign in Belgium, Lamy launches a communications offensive, which will continue for several years, with the aim of establishing the brand on particularly attractive European markets.
In Heidelberg, Lamy celebrates “30 years of Lamy Design” in the new, light-flooded Lamy Galleria, a spacious glass building which links the likewise newly built, futuristic Development Centre with the injection moulding shop. The numerous guests are delighted with an anniversary edition model of the LAMY 2000, a ball pen made of luxurious grenadilla wood.
Four writing systems, three surface variants and a selection of nice grips from which you can either choose your favourite or which you can switch around according to how you feel:
With the new LAMYaccent, developed under the direction of Andreas Haug at Phoenix Design, Lamy introduces onto the market the world’s first individually configurable writing instrument.
This is regarded so favourably by, for example, the famous Chicago Athenaeum that Lamy’s collection of design prizes is soon enhanced by the Athenaeum’s sought-after “Good Design Award”.
Anyone who regards writing as an important part of our culture is also provided with something to read by Lamy: The Lamy Book Edition, introduced in 1993 with “Fountain Pens for Connoisseurs” now offers “The Joy of Writing” by Hans Hegers, a new delight for book-lovers.
Because good ideas are not thought up exclusively at a desk, at the beginning of the third millennium many friends of the Lamy brand always carry with them a new, small pocket pen: the LAMYpico.
The unconventional ball pen, created by Swiss designer Franco Clivio, converts by means of a refined lift mechanism from sleek pocket format measuring just 9 cm into a fully fledged writing instrument.
The honour of receiving the highest national design accolade, the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany, is
the reward for so much flexibility.
An ambitious concept – an exclusive series of exceptional writing instruments created by the great designers of our time – takes shape for the first time:
Richard Sapper, Germany’s designer legend based in Italy, sets the standard with the LAMY dialog1. Featuring a futuristic, triangular body and tapered ends, this solitary ballpoint pen quickly becomes a conversation piece. And also wins accolades such as the “Good Design Award”.
An in-depth brand core analysis conducted by Heidelberg-based Sinus Sociovision confirms the strength of the Lamy brand core attributes of quality, innovation and design. But it also leads to the repositioning of Lamy as a brand with a distinctive personal identity function. One of the consequences of this is “My LAMY” – a new advertising campaign created by the Springer & Jacoby advertising agency in Hamburg.
In addition, Lamy proves its innovative strength with two new writing instruments presented for the first time at PAPER-WORLD in Frankfurt:
The LAMYpickup, designed by Wolfgang Fabian, is a ballpoint pen for young, mobile people which at the press of a button “unloads” a text highlighter. And the minimalist work of Konstantin Grcic is reflected in the LAMY vivo, which by virtue of its colours and a nifty push-button clip creates a good mood when writing as a ball pen or propelling pencil.
Together with all the other writing instruments, the two new products can also be admired on the updated Lamy website at www.lamy.com.
From now on Lamy also makes an attractive offer to selected specialist retailers: two modular shop systems developed by Dieter Thiel in which a maximum of Lamy product exposure and brand projection can be presented using just a few formallyconvincing elements.
Following the short, bulbous LAMYscribble, reminiscent of a piece of charcoal, which when introduced onto the market in 2000 is welcomed in particular by creative people, such as architects and graphic artists, the second development by Swiss designer Hannes Wettstein, the new LAMYstudio, is also launched.
And this time it is a complete family of writing instruments which earns a pleasing response in particular thanks to an unconventional design feature: an elegant clip turned in on itself which is redolent of modern sculptures.
And even more pleasing: in the location initiative “Germany – Land of Ideas” Lamy is one of the 365 “places” which in the year of the football World Cup are selected to represent Germany’s creativity in the eyes of the world.
The most emotional highlight on the Lamy trade fair stand in Frankfurt is the LAMYsmile, an innovative school fountain pen which the designers at Phoenix have given a cap incorporating three movable rings with cheerful emoticons.
What’s more, for the first time Lamy presents the LAMYpickup pro, a high-end aluminium variant of the LAMYpickup. And also introduces – as a continuation of its dialogue with major international designers – the LAMYdialog 2, a puristically styled ink rollerball with a retractable clip, created by Danish designer and architect Knud Holscher.
With an anniversary edition of the LAMY 2000, a ball pen made of gloss-polished hightech ceramic, Lamy celebrates “40 years of design brand Lamy” in October. And at the party in the Lamy Galleria the guests from all over the world give the longest round of applause to Dr Manfred Lamy, who at the age of 70 is retiring from the Management Board of C. Josef Lamy GmbH.
But as Chairman of the newly established Lamy Advisory Council, he will remain closely linked with the LAMY brand, which for over 44 years he has moulded into an internationally known synonym for innovative writing instrument technology, contemporary, functional design and exemplary marketing.
The qualified economist and brand expert Bernhard M. Rösner, who since November 2006 has continued the life’s-work of Dr Lamy as sole Managing Director, travels to Paperworld in Frankfurt with a rejuvenated management team and a new, highly promising writing instrument – the LAMY pur.
Also designed by Knud Holscher, this sleek, immaculate LAMY made of matt aluminium and highly polished stainless steel particularly impresses many Lamy promotional gift customers, and , not least, top design award bodies such as the Chicago Athenaeum.
In addition, Lamy staff extol the virtues of good handwriting and learning how to write correctly for the first time in the brands forum of Europe’s biggest education trade fair, Didacta, in Cologne. Shortly afterwards enthusiastic primary school teachers can engage in an exchange of views in the new ‘blogging classroom’ on the German Lamy website.
And at the DEKRA Awards Lamyhas two reasons to celebrate. The renowned testing and inspection company not only awards the firm a prize for outstanding management achievements but also honours Lamy with the prestigious DEKRA Ethik Award for its longstanding commitment to ethical and social issues.
The year brings an early highlight with the awardof a prize which can only be received once in alifetime: for his special services to design anda holistic, future-oriented company and productculture Dr Manfred Lamy is presented with the Design Award of the Federal Republic ofGermany – Personality by Michael Glos, theFederal Minister for Economics and Technology.
But with new products, too, Lamy attractsattention over the next few months: for examplewith the colourful, lightweight-aluminium,TV-advertised LAMY nexx, which sets aboutconquering the market segment for school andyoungsters’ fountain pens. But most of all withthe LAMY noto, a strikingly simple ballpoint pen created by Naoto Fukasawa, Japan’s most influential contemporary designer, which very quickly wins virtually all prizes and awards of major significance in the design world.
Lamy goes East. The company’s firstexhibition stand of its own at Paperworld inShanghai highlights the growing importancewhich Lamy attaches to the sales markets in theFar East.
In the first year of Barack Obama’s administration and with a new coalition government team in the German parliament, Lamy livens up the market with a number of new products.
And alongside the LAMY 2000 titanium, a ballpoint pen – which, with its body made of solid titanium, gives design purists a completely new feel for writing – one writing instrument stands out in particular, because its like has never been seen before: the LAMY dialog 3 created by Franco Clivio.
This luxurious twist-action fountain pen, which is the first to feature a retractable nib and clip, is not only popular around the world but has also won major design prizes such as the Good Design Award of the Chicago Athenaeum.
Of course, the LAMY dialog 3 is on display in the brand-new Lamy Showroom in Heidelberg which now provides visitors with an impressive overview of the complete design world of Lamy.
That such investments can pay off in tough economic times is demonstrated most gratifyingly this year. A major German insurance company has placed an order with Lamy for 300,000 LAMY logo pens, the biggest promotional gift order in the firm’s history.
While many companies are still struggling with the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis, things are very lively at the Lamy trade fair stand at Paperworld in Frankfurt. With LAMY plus and LAMY aquaplus, a new range of high-quality coloured pencils and paintboxes for all artists from the age of three, Lamy astounds the competition and impresses specialist retailers from all over the world.
And at the same venue, the Frankfurt trade fair complex, there is soon further reason to celebrate: the LAMY noto is presented with the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany, as a worthy successor to the LAMY spirit and LAMY pico, which won this prestigious ‘Design Oscar’ in 1996 and 2004 respectively. What’s more, the LAMY dialog 3 is increasingly becoming a favourite of design award juries – having now also won the iF and the red dot product design awards.
Not only these design highlights, but also some nice new variants in existing writing instrument ranges – for example the platinum-finished LAMY studio Pt – help to ensure that Lamy can close the business year with a double-digit increase in income.
No one knows for sure if little Danica May Camacho – the seven billionth person on Earth, born in October in the Philippines – will ever use a LAMY aquaplus paint box set or LAMY 3plus coloured pencils. But one thing is certain, however: it's not only children who love the new LAMY plus product line. More and more juries of designer awards love it too. It has won the iF Product Design Award, the Focus Open, the International Design Award Baden-Württemberg, and the red dot Design Award.
Even in this year of the euro's financial crisis, Lamy has made both full-grown design purists and cost-conscious business customers very happy indeed.
First, with the LAMY dialog 3 black, the eagerly awaited matt black version of Franco Clivio's unique twist-action fountain pen. And second, with design group EOOS's new LAMY econ, a ballpoint pen and/or mechanical pencil which gets off to a good start with its surprisingly budget-friendly price.
And finally, an unexpectedly strong business quarter over Christmas with an increase in turnover of 20 % compared to the previous year ensures that Lamy can celebrate a successful business year on every level with a turnover growth of 5.2 % and a total turnover of € 53.6 million.