Raymond Loewy, a Life slideshow


LIFE kindly invited me to guest edit a photo slideshow about the great industrial designer Raymond Loewy. I selected the photos from LIFE's archives and wrote the captions.

Six years after opening his office in New York in 1927, Loewy created this pencil sharpener, which looks as if it might have been designed using a wind tunnel. The pointed shape nicely conveys the purpose of the machine, while still offering a bit of mystery, and even adventure, to anyone brave enough to introduce a pencil into its jet-black lacuna. The warm wooden crank, meanwhile, invites users to interact with a device that, in all other respects, appears to be alien technology.

Raymond Loewy - The Man Who Designed America


  1. I have read that the reason lucky strike changed from green packaging was that they claimed they needed the green dye for the war effort, and even had a slogan, Lucky Strike Green has gone to war.
    Know anything about this, or if it’s true?
    Jay Heyman

  2. Loewy’s autobiography is amusingly titled: Never Leave Well Enough Alone. And it’s in print too.

  3. In the book mentioned by @MichealWalsh he explains that the green die was also expensive and covering the whole box of cigarette.

    So he decided to change the color scheme and also to put the logo on both sides so that whenever the package was on a table or on something, it would display the logo no matter which side it would be lying on.

    This seems pretty obvious today but back in that time, not everything was figured out.

    He and his agency created — a lot — of today’s standards in about any fields related with creating something, not just graphic or industrial design.

  4. The old Car-Toons magazine had a great comic once that had a car company bring in a brilliant industrial aerodynamicist designer, a Loewy-type genius, to design their next product, the World’s Fastest, Most Beautiful car ever. It turned out to be too good for the bean counters, and they tossed it and the designer out. The last panel had the genius unveiling the World’s Fastest, Most Beautiful Aerodynamic…..toaster.

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