On the journey from small Heidelberg writing instrument factory to internationally significant market leader and brand manufacturer, the birth of the Lamy design brand in 1966 was surely the most important milestone. But there are many more and it's worth taking a little journey through time to find out about them.
Dr. Manfred Lamy, one of Germany's most important design entrepreneurs, has died at the age of 84. Under the leadership of the Heidelberg native, the independent family business developed into a modern and internationally successful writing instrument brand. With the LAMY 2000, he revolutionized the writing instrument market in 1966 and laid the foundation for the Lamy corporate philosophy today. The commitment of this pioneer of modern design and advocate of handwriting extended far beyond his own company. Dr. Manfred Lamy was a visionary who leaves behind a legacy that is unique and extraordinary in its success story. In his spirit, the family and the 380 employees will honor and continue his life's work.
Lamy gets new leadership in June. A team consisting of three long-standing employees - Beate Oblau, Thomas Trapp and Peter Utsch - is now managing the business of the company.
The year begins with a very special premier: the first edition of LAMY specs is published. The magazine is a way for us to show another side of the brand, giving exciting insights into the Lamy universe. Analogue and digital content are woven together – thanks to an augmented reality app which expands the reading experience with fascinating 3D animations and video clips. It's all about the experience in our second Lamy Concept Store in the USA, too. It opened in New York in May 2018 and visitors can now discover the design world of Lamy in the trendy district of SoHo.
The “50 years of Lamy design” anniversary year not only marked a significant milestone in the company’s history but also the start of a new era. Using the slogan “not just a pen”, Lamy impressively documented its development into a global lifestyle brand.
In addition to a number of product innovations, the anniversary year 2016 had another highlight to offer: Lamy opened its first German flagship store in Heidelberg.
Lamy has raised its global brand image to a new level with this prestigious store. At the same time, the company confirmed its commitment to the site as well as its brand and quality promise, “Made in Germany”.
Finally, Lamy is using the opportunity afforded by the anniversary to highlight its 50 years of design history in an exhibition: “thinking tools” (MAK Frankfurt, Sept. 2016 – Feb. 2017) portrays the design process at Lamy as a complex interplay between the company, designers and product developers.
Lamy expands its pioneering role within the writing instrument sector – not only in their capacity as market leaders in Germany but also as a German design brand whose products hold a special position across the globe.
Almost half a century after its launch, Lamy unveils its iconic LAMY 2000 in a high-quality all-metal series in stainless steel. Creating the timeless design in this material is a real challenge: its production requires a combination of demanding mechanical and manual production and machining processes. All in all a complex process which results in a masterpiece.
In the same year, Lamy is honoured with the the “German Standards Brand Award” in the category “Fountain Pen” and added to the well-known compendium “Marken des Jahrhunderts – Leuchttürme auf dem Markenmeer” (Brands of the Century – Lighthouses in the Sea of Brands) by a high-ranking jury.
Contrasts create excitement and excitement means emotion. So it was quite obvious that the new LAMY scala designed by Sieger Design would cause a stir since its unusual attraction is the result of strong contrasts. Its pure, functional design and precise workmanship are a delight. Its high-quality painted finish, high-gloss chrome-plated details and pleasant weight caress the senses.
A successful year: 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.
Scribble, sketch, design: right on cue for the new millennium, Lamy provides creative thinkers with the right writing instrument to get their ideas on to paper. The new LAMY scribble, designed by Hannes Wettstein, is a mechanical pencil with a bulbous design which sits perfectly in your hand due to its ergonomic balance. A ballpoint pen version is also available for wordsmiths. This product which resembles a piece of charcoal quickly becomes a favourite among the creative class in architecture offices, design studios and advertising agencies.
30 years of Lamy design: in the course of the anniversary celebrations, the new Lamy Galleria is opened – a glass hall flooded with light with walls covered in large pictures. A place of art and inspiration at the heart of Lamy. And right next door is the newly built development centre – the innovation workshop. This futuristic building in which Lamy has been designing, testing and manufacturing new products ever since stands out in particular due to its remarkable appearance – a black glass cube with solar panels, supported by silver steel cables and pylons clearly represents the clarity of Lamy design to everybody. At the same time, the architecture reflects the high level of innovation and the green credentials of the company with the photovoltaic modules on the façade, providing the building with solar energy while a water basin collects rainwater to reduce water consumption.
The start of the company’s own ink production strengthens Lamy’s desire for independence and enables it to increase its production depth once again.
Unmistakable Lamy design does not end with the product but also features in the packaging, advertising, point of sales presentation and even the company architecture. This consistent approach is rewarded when the Commission of the European Community awards Lamy the newly created “European Design Prize 1988”.
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 passes away at the age of 87.
Opening its new injection moulding hall enables Lamy to take a major step towards independence: with the company having its own tool-making and injection moulding departments, it is now able to manufacture fountain pens, refills and ink cartridges in-house, thus underlining its quality promise, “Made in Germany”.
The high technological standards of Lamy can also be seen reflected in the company itself. For example, in the newly-built central warehouse, with its high-bay racks equipped with an ultra-modern control system.
When the LAMY safari is unveiled at the Frankfurt Fair in 1980, nobody guesses that it would one day be the best-selling fountain pen in the world.
The LAMY safari enables Lamy to conquer the target group of 10 to 15-year-olds for the first time. It 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 ergonomic design and sturdy workmanship of the LAMY safari are perfectly tailored to the needs of schoolchildren, but also quickly win over many adult fans as well.
In parallel to the increasing success on the market, the subject of marketing comes into focus: Lamy’s approach to communications is completely revised. A new advertising campaign (one of the highest award-winning in Germany) bringst Lamy into the public consciousness and shapes the character of the brand until the nineties.
Dr Manfred Lamy becomes the sole Managing Director of C. Josef Lamy GmbH.
When it comes to distributing and selling writing instruments, Lamy solely relies on specialised dealerships. This consistent attitude is marked by numerous elements: Attractively designed promotional aids such as the new Lamy Writing Centre, creative promotional campaigns and product displays and last but not least the Lamy Distributor Advisory Council.
In the search for new opportunities to strengthen the profile of the LAMY brand, the young Marketing Manager Dr Manfred Lamy finds strong role models in brands such as Braun and Olivetti which are already setting pioneering standards in product design at that time. So it could almost be described as fate when a short time later he meets former Braun designer, Gerd A. Müller. They soon define a joint project: designing a fountain pen based on Bauhaus tradition.
The LAMY 2000 is launched in autumn 1966. This new fountain pen is revolutionary in several respects: unlike writing instruments from other brands, it features no material surplus or design gadgets. Based on the Bauhaus principle “form follows function” it focuses on practical function and thus lays the foundation for the clear design language which still forms the basis for all Lamy writing instruments.
The LAMY 2000 also sets new standards in terms of workmanship, as the material combination of matt-ground stainless steel and Makrolon (polycarbonate) is very challenging to work with and completely new in the mid-sixties.
With the LAMY exact, 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 ballpoint pens. Sales success at home and abroad soon make the pen and its modern design a major contributor to turnover.
C. Josef Lamy GmbH moves to its present location in the Heidelberg district of Wieblingen.
The streamlined LAMY 27 fountain pen, which with its innovative “Tintomatik” system ensures a smooth, clean flow of ink, symbolises the birth of the LAMY writing instrument brand and achieves the firm’s breakthrough on the market.
At the beginning of the Second World War, more than 200,000 ORTHOS and ARTUS brand fountain pens are being produced annually.
C. Josef Lamy, who up until then had worked as an export and branch manager for an American writing instrument manufacturer, sets up his own business in Heidelberg, the Orthos Füllfederhalter-Fabrik.