Industrial Design : Importance and Technique

I have written often about the overwhelming importance of design in successfully differentiating and branding products. We all know examples of well-designed products that become standards. The Ferrari sports car, the Rolex watch, the Barbie Doll, a Krups toaster or the PEZ candy dispenser are obvious examples of packaging, or product design that become ubiquitous to consumers around the world. When the rare Ferrari Testarossa roars by on the highway, we instantly know that the ‘yellow prancing horse’ badge sits proudly and desirably on the world’s most exotically styled automobile. One of the most famous industrial designers of the 20th century was Raymond Loewy. Born in France, Mr. Loewy became the designer of choice for manufacturers of consumable and non-consumable consumer products, industrial transport and corporate logo’s as a result of the simple design cues that he often built his products around. Visitors to the Loewy shop often noted that there was a bowl of eggs prominently placed in his office. Eggs were a real creative prop for all of Loewy’s associates. They were not on hand to be deviled and eaten. Raymond Loewy felt that the egg was nature’s perfect shape. The egg is oval, circular, oblong, smooth, white, and a peculiar combination of strong and brittle. No other shape is so compelling. When viewed it is pleasing, when held it is comforting. He made every effort to utilize the splendid inherent design features of the egg in his industrial design work. The simplicity of the shape became identifiable in ‘Loewy product designs’. A list of the famous products, packages and corporate logo’s that Loewy crafted during his long career is an amazing valediction of his creativity and range. The following is a list of a few of the works of Raymond Loewy: Gestetner Mimeograph Machine       Pennsylvania Rail Road Locomotives Schick Electric Razor                         IBM Key Punch Coca Cola Bottle and Logo               Lucky Strike Cigarettes Logo Leisurama Homes                             New York City Transit Train R40 Car NASA Sky Lab Interior                      Exxon Logo Shell Oil Logo                                   Studebaker Avanti & Commander Auto Frigidaire                                          Panama Line Cruise Ship Interiors Wahl Eversharp Fountain Pen          International Harvester Logo Dorsett Catalina Pleasure Boat        Zippo Lighter Sears Cold Spot Refrigerator            Huppmobile Auto’s 1947 Filben Jukebox                         Greyhound Scenicruiser Bus This is an impressive list and many of these products are considered timeless and cutting edge to this day. Motor Trend and Car & Driver Magazine list the Studebaker Commander as among the most beautifully designed cars of the 1950’s. Loewy designed locomotives of the 1940’s are treated as classic art by railway buffs. In almost every one of these designs the styling cues taken from the egg are visible to even the most untrained eye. Industrial design students study Loewy crafted products just as art students study Rembrandt or Picasso. Companies and entrepreneurs that revere and diligently work for highly stylized designs are much more likely to succeed in both the short and long run. Consider Ralph Lauren’s Polo lines of clothing. The attention to detail, design, quality and manic maintenance of the…