2011 44¢ Pioneers of American Industrial Design –
Issue Date: June 29, 2011
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Shortly after opening his own design business, Raymond Loewy (1893-1986) would give a card to prospective clients. It simply read, “Between two products equal in price, function and quality, the better looking will outsell the other.” That statement would inspire an outstanding career in industrial design.
Loewy’s timing was unfortunate; it was 1929, and the Great Depression would almost immediately redefine people’s buying habits. He persevered, and had early successes with a mimeograph (duplicating) machine and Sears’ Coldspot refrigerator.
Loewy was famous for his streamlined, aero-dynamic designs. Time magazine called him the “Streamliner of the Sales Curve” in 1949. His work on cars and locomotives reflected this, but he applied it elsewhere as well. In 1954, Loewy re-designed the Coca-Cola bottle, giving it a sleeker, more slender appearance. His designs touched on many products, but some of his grandest work was yet to come.
In 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy invited Loewy to work on designs for Air Force One. He later developed the interior of the orbiting space station Skylab. Such high-profile jobs earned Loewy celebrity status. By the time of his death, he had earned a place in Life magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century.”