Raymond Loewy – Not Just an Automotive Designer

RAYMOND LOEWY designed the 1934 Hupmobile, the bullet-nosed 1942 Studebaker Champion, the stunning 1953 Studebaker Starliner and the 1961 Studebaker Avanti, a zenith of Modernist design. That was more or less in his spare time.

Loewy also designed the famous silver streamlined locomotives of mid-century America, the equally-famous sleek Greyhound streamliner, ships and hydrofoils, and the interiors of the Lockheed Constellation, the interior of Air Force One, the interior of the NASA Spacelab and the interior of the Concorde SST. He also designed the iconic Coca-Cola bottle, the Lucky Strike cigarette pack, the Sears Coldspot refrigerator, and the Shell, BP, International Harvester, U.S. Postal Service, and Exxon logos.

In addition, he designed uniforms, furniture, appliances, televisions, stereos, commercial and consumer radios, early computers, office equipment, industrial machines, offices, buildings, and department stores. He was one of most prolific and successful industrial designers that ever lived. It is very close to impossible to spend 24 hours in any developed country and not see something that Raymond Loewy designed or influenced through his original design of the object decades earlier.

Loewy believed that design should not speak to the user of the object, but to him as well – literally. His daughter recalled that when he finished designing the Studebaker Starliner, a car that many automotive designers of today consider the most beautiful American car ever produced, he put on some jazz, turned out the lights, and ran his hands over every square inch of the clay mock-up of the Starliner, while he “listened” to what it had to say. He then turned around to her and pronounced it finished.

Raymond Loewy was born in Neuilly, France in 1893 and died in Monaco in 1986.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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  1. What a wonderful little piece on Loewy!

  2. Amazing. And amazing that I’ve never before heard of this guy. I’m surprised there isn’t a movie bio of this man.

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