William Plumb, FIDSA
Inducted into the Academy of Fellows: 1983
William Plumb is president of plumb inc., a design and marketing firm in Piermont, NY. He is also president of Avecmedia, Inc. of Norwalk, CT, a developer and licensor of patented concepts for media packaging. He is an IDSA Fellow and a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (FAAR).
Plumb has a degree in industrial design from Cornell and has pursued post-graduate studies at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. He began his design career in the studio of Gio Ponti, the noted Milanese architect/designer and, while living in Milan, also worked as a consultant to the Ufficio Sviluppo (development office) of La Rinascente department stores.
Back in the US he joined the firm of Eliot Noyes and Associates. Noyes was the founder and then-consultant director of the seminal IBM Corporate Design Program where Plumb was involved in a wide variety of activities from brand identity to the design and development of a number of successful IBM products.
Plumb opened a design firm in New York in 1963 with IBM as his first client. The work of his firm has subsequently centered on a broad range of issues, among them:
- New product design and development.
- Comprehensive corporate identity/branding.
- Visual marketing; the coordinated design of promotional materials and environments to sell products and ideas.
- The visual interpretation and expression of technology as a marketing tool.
Plumb and his associates have played roles in developing design strategies for companies like Apple Computer, AT&T, Bussman (Buss-brand fuses), Corning, Dictaphone, Du Pont (Corian-brand solid surface material), Hitachi, IBM, International Paper, Ricoh, Savin and United Technologies, among others.
Projects for which Plumb has been responsible have been published widely and have been included in exhibitions at leading museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum. A number of Plumb-designed products have won "Gute Form" design awards at the Hanover Fair in Germany.
In 1983 he was elected a Fellow of IDSA. In 1986 the American Academy in Rome awarded Plumb a "Prix de Rome". He has served several terms as a vice-president of the Society of Fellows of the American Academy in Rome.
Plumb has written extensively on design and marketing issues for many publications both professional and general in nature. He was a long-time member of the Editorial Advisory Board of ID magazine. Articles about him and his firm have appeared in ID, Metropolis, Interiors, Fortune, Domus and numerous other periodicals.
He has lectured at Cornell, Pratt, Ohio State, Rochester Institute of Technology, The University of the Arts, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Art Center College in Pasedena and the American Academy in Rome. He has taught studio design courses at the University of the Arts and the Rhode Island School of Design.
In the early 1990s, Plumb co-invented and managed the development of an innovative new CD package called the Q-Pack® for Queens Group, Inc., one of the leading print/packagers for the recording industry. As a result of a series of mergers and acquisitions, the patents for this package are now licensed to International Paper. As a result of his experience in this field, he took on the presidency of a new company, Avecmedia, Inc., in 2000 where he has worked on the development of a new line of products for CD packaging called the AvecPAK™. The patent rights for the AvecPAK in its drink cup lid forms were licensed to Atlanta-based Convex in 2003 and are distributed under the trade name of LidRock. The licensing of other forms of the product line is currently under discussion.
While retaining the presidency of Avecmedia, Plumb is at the same time re-directing his energies toward clients of his consultancy.
Plumb has been qualified and has testified as an expert witness in a number of intellectual property cases for the New York law firms of Darby and Darby and O’Sullivan Graev & Karabell, LLP and the Norwalk, Connecticut firm of Grimes and Battersby.
Plumb lives in Piermont, NY with his wife, a psychotherapist. A son is a correspondent for Reuters and a daughter is a marketing manager for a division of WoltersKluwer, a leading Dutch publisher.