19 October, 2015

Names that made M&S

Innovation has always been at the core of M&S. Much of this has been driven by the needs of our customers. Our ability to stay in touch with what they want – and deliver a few surprises along the way – is one of the key secrets behind our success. It’s an approach that extends beyond the many and varied products we’ve created down the years. We pride ourselves on ensuring every aspect of every touchpoint with the customers is considered, well executed and worthy of the M&S brand. One name that stands out in this regard is Charlie Wilkinson.

Iconic packaging

A stalwart of the M&S Design Studio from over 30 years, Charlie started out as a layout artist on our staff newsletter, St Michael News. This was well before the advent of modern desktop publishing, so it could take as much as three days just to arrange the typeface and layout before it went off to print. It may have been this that gave Charlie his unfailing attention to detail – detail that inspired much of our iconic packaging between 1954 and 1985.

Our Food Departments first appeared back in 1931. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that they began to be considered as the last word in quality and value. The part packaging played in this cannot be underestimated. To keep pace with increasingly sophisticated and discerning shoppers, Charlie created beautiful watercolour paintings for the labels on everything from toiletries to cakes and wines. He was also responsible for our cutting-edge biscuit packaging in the 50s and continued to work with us right up until the 80s when his designs were printed on tins for our new range of beers.  

Trail blazing

Charlie Wilkinson can justifiably take his place amongst the names that made M&S, blazing a trail for our tradition of creating inviting and appealing packaging that was set to become one of the hallmarks of our business.

Inside M&S