What a card

Simpson Piccadilly card
Along with my affection for all things Ashley Havinden, goes my affection for all things Simpson of Piccadilly. The fact that these two became one during the design of the new Simpson shop in 1936 is just fine and dandy.

In 1936 Havinden was at Crawfords (the über advertising agency at the time) who were handling the new publicity, branding and even the display designs for Joseph Emberton’s new Simpson shop on Piccadilly. Havinden designed the logo on this here business card as well as the DAKS logo and the rest of the graphic output for the launch. During the shop build, the ‘p’ was extended to become the first letter of ‘Piccadilly’ and so the famous words were joined. The logo made it onto the facade of the shop too, cast in metal.

The business card was a graphic motif used throughout Simpson advertising from 1936 onwards, as Havinden explained in the Penrose Annual, 1955: “The co-ordinating symbol evolved for Simpson takes a form reminiscent of a visiting card which is superimposed graphically on all items of the firm visible to the public. Whenever the appeal is to the feminine world, the card is given a curvilinear shape.”

This small yet beautifully formed card could be dated any time from then up until the introduction of all-figure dialing in 1966, when telephone numbers changed. My ephemera nose tells me it is probably late 1950s. I have to say I love having such a thing in my collection. It connects me to the era, the shop and the designer. And I like the fact that this card could – graphically speaking – have just dropped out of a Simpson advert or off a Simpson carrier bag. Branded brilliance. Clever chap, Havinden.



I remember Simpson of Piccadilly and always loved their logo and shop front. The concave windows were brilliant.

shelf appeal

I would have loved to get my hands on the display in those windows when it was SImpsons. But Waterstones just haven’t got what it takes to give good window, so they are rather lost on them these days.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *