The First Car Radio on the Moon
Hardbound slim volumes with cloth covers, gold type, sepia-toned images, photos of beaming chairmen – all with no irony. That’s everything corporate histories are. It’s also everything Motorola’s book, The First Car Radio on the Moon, isn’t.
In the early 2000s Motorola had a problem. It had a long and glorious history, and had invented products that genuinely changed the way people lived their lives. But too few people knew about it. We decided that they needed to remind the world – and themselves – of what Motorola was all about.
Led by an American design curator and writer, we spent more than a year sifting through the company’s archives finding iconic images with the retro-cool cache of old technology. Men in trench coats holding mobiles bigger than their heads, NASA videos of the Apollo missions, lab graphics and early mobile phone prototypes were all remixed to give a portrait of Motorola that few expected to see – a company with a pop culture heritage.
The resulting book, designed in a stylish, unusual and playful snapshot format, subtly conveyed Motorola’s role in helping to create the modern world, from “walkie-talkies” to “bricks” to “flips”, from car radios to the first moon landing (Motorola invented the radio that transmitted Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap” line).
The CEO was so impressed with the book that he ordered a second print run to distribute to 70,000 employees on the 75th anniversary of the company. The book provided the inspiration for a global TV ad, and was featured in various magazines around the world, including even unlikely candidates such as Vogue.