DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT – THE FATHER OF INDUSTRIAL DESIGN

Today Google featured a sepia-toned doodle, which was in fact the design of a train designed by midcentury industrial designer Raymond Loewy, whose 120th birthday would’ve been today.

Paris-born Raymond Loewy was an industrial designer who achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety of industries. Even if readers may not be familiar with the name Loewy, it is most certain that in some shape of form, whichever part of the world you’re in you have encountered his work – which decorates everything from the Coke Bottle to the USA’s Air Force One.

Based in New York for most of his active career Loewy was incredibly prolific. He worked in period of time before the term “industrial designer” had even been coined. By the time he left, it was a whole profession, with its own trade associations and education curriculum.

Loewy’s successful career was due in large part to the post-War economic boom. According to historical records, his career path included early jobs as a department store display designer, to working on aircraft interiors at the dawn of commercial aviation, to designing cars in the 1940s and 50s—which helped sell the dream of individual car ownership to Americans. During his 50yr career Loewy was responsible for designing the famous Coca-Cola bottle, Lucky Strike cigarette packets and logos for Exxon and Shell. He also created product designs for everything from refrigerators to cars, vending machines, sewing machines, one of IBM’s card punchers and spacecraft.

“…what’s really interesting—and admirable—isn’t how famous Loewy has become, or how influential his work was. It’s that he was happy to try his hand at anything and everything. He saw the modern world as a magical and interconnected series of phenomena, each in need of careful engineering.” – Gizmodo

Happy birthday Raymond Loewy!