Industrial design might seem pretty far off the usual track of this blog, but I think that an artist should know about aesthetics in general. A few weeks ago I was boring you with Greek vases, tonight I am going to begin a two part series on the greatest designer of the 20th century, Raymond Loewy. You have been seeing his work your whole life, probably without being aware of who he was, or that one man designed so many familiar things.
Born in France in 1893, Raymond Loewy served and was wounded in World War I. After the war he emigrated to the United States still wearing his officers jacket with 50 dollars in his pocket. His first jobs were doing window dressing for New York city department stores. He then began to do fashion design with some success. However his life's work began when in 1929 he was commissioned to redesign the Gestetner duplicating machine. It looked something like this, a late 19th style of design, utilitarian but homely.
Raymond Loewy produced this.
This is a cowling that fit over the sort of unit above. it looked clean and modern. Loewys design looks normal enough today, but in its time it was very hip. Loewys influence has been so great that it is easy to overlook his enormous influence on industrial design. We see his designs, or their influence, about us every day. This design led to more commissions and over his life, he produced hundreds of designs that we take for granted as part of the "modern" era. Many of his designs were "streamlined. That was a rounded off, slicked back and aerodynamic look which characterized much of the 20th century. Here is a design you may have see for the logo of a fine tobacco product. This is one of the landmarks of modern package design.
Loewy also designed this well known logo.
This logo was so effective and well known that Shell discovered they could omit the actual company name in their advertising and merely show this symbol designed by Loewy. Here is another of his logos.
Lowey began to design all sorts of things besides logos here is an example. Here is a design for a refrigerator.
More tomorrow. Have a happy Thanksgiving!
I have a few spaces left in the three day workshop to be held in Charleston, South Carolina. It will be fun to meet those of you who read this blog from the low country. As usual the workshop is open to all levels of experience and will run from Saturday, December 11 until Monday the 13th. I will teach outside and will demonstrate in the morning and then run from easel to easel teaching for the afternoon. I can save you years of screwing around learning to paint outside.
Here is the link to sign up. Class size is limited to 10 and given the short notice on this one might be very small indeed. People are starting to sign up, so reserve your space.