Black History Month Profile – Putting His Own Stamp on It

Georg Olden was a graphic designer who would become the first African-American to design a stamp for the US Postal Service. The stamp was unveiled at a ceremony in the White House by John F. Kennedy. Its creator, Olden, had dropped out of school after the attack on Pearl Harbor and went to work as a graphic designer in the Office of Strategic Services. After the war, his supervisor recommended him to CBS television, where he had a successful career in designing the logos for a number of well known programs.

Olden next entered the world of advertising, rising to Vice President of the prominent firm, McCann Erickson. He also designed the logo for the National Urban League. In 1964, at an event hosted by US Ambassador to the United Nations, Olden was among six persons honored as African Americans prominent in the economic world.

Olden himself had this to say concerning his success and prominence, “As the first Black American to achieve an executive position with a major corporation, my goal was the same as that of Jackie Robinson in baseball: to achieve maximum respect and recognition by my peers, the industry and the public, thereby hopefully expanding acceptance of, and opportunities for, future Black Americans in business.”