Raymond Loewy - Creativity and Design
Raymond Loewy (1893-1986)
French-born American industrial designer (pictured right).
What did he design?
(for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1930’s).
- Starliner Coupe, 1953 (pictured right).
4. Coca-Cola bottle (1955, pictured right),
Loewy improved it by:
- adding the white Coca-Cola lettering.
Why was he such a great designer?
1. Customer satisfaction
His designs were based on his MAXA principle:
“Most Advanced Yet Acceptable”
He wanted to please as many people as possible with:
- functionality and ease of use (“The main goal is not to
complicate the already difficult life of the consumer”, he said).
- quality (he hated cheap rubbish like chrome on cars).
“Junky stuff is consumer
murder”, he believed.
2. Purpose and fun
Designing beautiful and useful things gave him:
The project he enjoyed most was designing space capsules for astronauts during the 1960’s
- always prepared to take risks (so long as he felt he wasn’t getting out of touch with what
customers wanted - see point 1).
- the pioneer of streamlining in his trains, cars and buses.
- a strong believer in emotion and sensuality to make his designs
For example, he thought the Coca-Cola bottle was appealing because:
“its shape is aggressively female”.
“It all must start with an inspired, spontaneous idea”, he said.
His most important source of inspiration was “educated intuition” that came from
He always made sure that his designs were as easy as possible to manufacture.
He did this by streamlining which he described as:
“beauty through function and simplification”.
So he campaigned (often unsuccessfully) for more streamlining in cars to improve their fuel efficiency and
“Weight is the enemy”, he said, when designing the Studebaker Avanti car
(pictured right above).
When re-designing the Lucky Strike cigarette packet (pictured right below) in 1939, he
changed its colour from green to white to:
- save on the cost of the green dye.
- make it look more distinctive.
He was a charming and energetic man who managed to convince
companies that better looking products would boost sales.
He wanted people to remember his designs, so he made them very
(like his logo for the Shell oil company, a yellow shell on a red background, which he designed
in 1971, pictured right).
He had design companies in New York, London and Paris, all with talented designers who
helped him put his ideas into action.
Key quotes on
Good design keeps the user happy.
The main goal is not to complicate the already difficult life of the consumer.
Between two products equal in price, function and quality, the better looking will out sell the other.
It all must start with an inspired, spontaneous idea.