Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Raymond Loewy 1893-1986
French born, handsome, brilliant and a snappy dresser.
 I love a really good self made story, don't you?...

Raymond Loewy came to America on board the S S France in 1919.  He was actually following his older brothers, Georges and Maximillian,  who had already made it to our shores, while Raymond was busy doing his patriotic duty in WW1.  Raymond boarded the ship wearing his french Captains uniform (imagine how dapper he must have looked?) with $40.00 dollars in his pocket and some big big dreams.

While on board, Monsieur Loewy, who was an obsessive sketcher, captured the attention of Sir Henry Armstrong, British consul in New York, who gave him a calling card to Conde Naste publishing in NYC. Still wearing his uniform, Loewy went to the CN offices and landed a job as a fashion illustrator for Vogue and Vanity Fair.

His fore into industrial design came in 1929, when London manufacturer Sigmund Gestetner asked if he could improve upon the look of his duplicating machine. He did, and there was no turning back.

1953 Studebaker designed by R.L.
 "It all must start with an inspired, spontaneous idea."
14 piece "plaza" coffee service designed for Rosenthal China.  Do you see how charming this is?  Reminds me of childrens book illustrations.

Loewy was the first industrial designer to land a Time Magazine cover.  Years later, Life Magazine named him "one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th Century".

He even designed the corner bakery.  Is that a witch in the window?
 "I sought excitement and, taking chances, I was all ready to fail in order to achieve something large."
Loewy proudly stands in front of one his many locomotive designs.  Man knew how to pose for a photograph!

He designed the interior and the logo for the exterior of Air Force One, at the request of his friend Jackie Kennedy.

Raymond Loewy's design for Greyhound bus.

R. L. re-designed the original contour bottle for coca-cola, eliminating the embossing, which was on only one side, and replacing it with vibrant white lettering, which was on both sides.
 "It's shape is aggressively female, a quality that in merchandise as in life, sometimes transcends functionalism."  Referring to the coke bottle.
Our man, Raymond Loewy, is the chap on the far right.

In 1940, George Washington Hill, president of American Tobacco Co, bet him $50,000 he could not improve the Lucky Strike cigarette package.  Loewy took the bet and proceeded to change the background from green to white, thus reducing printing costs, and placed the red lucky strike target on both sides of the package, increasing visibility and sales.  Don Draper couldn't have done it better!

In the 1970's he designed the USPO eagle logo.

Raymond was an accomplished commercial artist.  He used his artistic skills to design fabric, wall paper, even posters.

 "The adult public's taste is not necessarily ready to accept solutions to their requirements if the solution implies too vast a departure from what they have been conditioned into accepting as the norm." 
Thus began Loewy's famous principal, referred to as MAYA, or Most Advanced Yet Acceptable.
"Between two products equal in price, function and quality, the one with the most attractive exterior wins."

Thank you Raymond Loewy, you have certainly made modern life more lovely.
Have a beautiful day.

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