Raymond Loewy
Avanti sketch

"It all must start with an inspired, spontaneous idea." Raymond Loewy
Raymond Loewy invented the profession of industrial design. He used his pencil to bring his ideas to life as he redesigned, streamlined and simplified household appliances, housing, marketing logos and vehicles from automobiles to locomotives to cruise ships.
"One stroke of his pencil was like a push on an accelerator. Dedicated to speed, Raymond Loewy was the embodiment of forward motion." —Philippe Tr├ętiack, Raymond Loewy and Streamlined Design
After World War II
"Loewy began to shape the image of an entire nation with his pencil strokes, taking on more and more memorable commissions. His sketches, models and blueprints were to largely shape our current impression of the United States as a fantastic, vital country. Within a few brief years, he had created the icons of the streamlined fifties — jukeboxes, vending machines, gas pumps, cigarette packets, Greyhound buses, car bodies such as the Studebaker and the fully-welded Lincoln Continental, toasters, tractors, helicopters and the ferry-boats ceremoniously welcomed into the port of New York." —Philippe Tr├ętiack
Loewy used his pencil to help realize his ideas.

Because of the inordinate range and amount of forms, shapes and logos that Loewy designed and redesigned, I am focusing on one: the Avanti body design for Studebaker. While Loewy is credited with the design of a number of automobiles — most notably for Studebaker — he often styled a design and then took credit for the work of a team. Read about the teamwork that created the Avanti.

Preliminary study, sketch 1 for Studebaker "Avanti" automobile 
Library of Congress

From pencil drawing to finished automobile, experience the Avanti in period presentation. This almost 14 minute film is a period piece, a trip in time shot in Palm Springs, California, early 1960s.

Introducing Avanti

Learn more about Raymond Loewy at his official site.

Looking back at Loewy's work from the far side of the 20th century, it's difficult to miss that Loewy's designs were mostly energy consuming devices fueled by oil and gas (as was his career). Off the subject of drawing but relevant to this post, as I write at the beginnings of the Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe, I'm reminded of Joseph Cotten's monologue in Orson Welle's The Magnificent Ambersons.

Avanti translates from the Italian as "forward", forward at a clip. It's time we put our pencils to work to create design for a new way of life and a new kind of prosperity. Avanti!

Pencil sharpener
designed by Raymond Loewy