After a brief stint illustrating fashion and dressing windows for Macy's and Sak's Fifth Avenue, French-born Raymond Loewy (1893-1986), who had emigrated to America at the close of the First World War, began his career in the then-unnamed profession of industrial design.
His first break came when his innovative re-design of the Gestetner duplicating machine earned him industry plaudits and, more importantly, commissions to rethink the exteriors and packaging of loads of products. The designs for the Lucky Strike cigarette pack, the Pennsylvania Railroad's S1 Locomotive, the Sears Roebuck Coldspot icebox and various Studebaker automobiles were all his. During an astonishingly varied and productive life, Loewy designed space stations, postage stamps, flatware, airplanes, helicopters, trains, cars, buses and speedboats. His iconic logos for Exxon, Shell and Carling Black Label beer are instantly recognized internationally.
In his biography, Never Leave Well Enough Alone, Loewy explained his personal philosophy of designing the most advanced yet acceptable appearances for the objects we all need. Simplicity was key: 'Forms arouse all sorts of unconscious associations, and the simpler the form, the more agreeable the sensation provoked.' Integrating functionality with a spirit of modernity, Loewy is considered a pioneer of 20th Century industrial design.