Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Raymond Loewy 120

Raymond Loewy was born in France on November 5, 1893 and immigrated to the United States in 1919. Here he would employ himself as a fashion illustrator and window decorator, gradually gaining prominence before becoming one of the leading industrial designers in America. A highpoint of sorts was October 1949 when he was featured on the cover of Time magazine.

Being an industrial designer, Loewy designed just about everything. Locomotives, cars, interiors, gas stations, packaging and, of interest to this blog, trademarks. The Loewy brand of design would eventually travel the world when he set up a subsidiary in his native France and worked with clients in Japan.

To mark the 120th anniversary of Loewy's birth, here's a compilation of some trademarks made by his companies, Raymond Loewy Asscoiates, Loewy/Snaith and Compagnie de l'esthethique industrielle (CEI). Some of them are design classics, still used today - Shell, Formica, Spar, LU, New Man. Others are obscure and forgotten. The trademarks were often only one of many designs that Loewy created for his clients, he would often also design products or interiors to work with an overall design programme.

International Harvester was once a major manufacturer of trucks and harvesting equipment. Loewy was contracted to oversee design of tractors in the mid-30s. A decade later, at the end of the war, the company adopted a new "IH" mark, designed by Loewy.

Sealtest was a dairy company, best known for its ice cream. Raymond Loewy & Associates designed its packaging for several years.

Lefèvre-Utile is a French maker of biscuits and cookies. In the 50s, it adopted a new design where a large rectangular logo covered the left-hand side of the package.

Brown-Forman is an American producer of wine and liquor. They adopted this clever symbol in the 50s and are still using a somewhat modified version.

In the 50s, Loewy put the symbol of American biscuit maker Nabisco in a triangle, placed at the top left corner of the packaging.

United Air Lines was one of Loewy's clients in the 60s. During that time, he designed a simplified version of United's shield trademark.

Formica, best known for it laminates, adopted this stylised F in the 60s and it survives to this day.

Another classic airline logo: The TWA double globe designed for Trans World Airlines by Raymond Loewy Associates and TWA's own Rex Werner.

Ansul is a company in Wisconsin that makes fire extinguishers and similar products. In addition to their company logo, Raymond Loewy also created the company symbol.

Discover America is an organisation that promotes tourism within the United States. Loewy/Snaith designed this weathervane symbol which was selected as it can point in any direction.

Stenval was a French dairy company.

CEI designed an updated version of the fir tree trademark for Dutch super market chain Spar in the late 60s. It is still a common sight in several European countries.

Nobel Bozel was a French chemical company.

A classic design for the Equitable Life Insurance Company of America.

Union des Coopérateurs d'Alsace, known locally as "Coop", was a French supermarket chain.

The Eagle Pencil Company was an American maker of pencils which is now owned by Berol.

Rogers Brothers was a producer of seeds.

The trademark for New Man, a French clothing brand, is a classic. It can be turned upside down and still look the same.

Loewy/Snaith received the prestigious task of giving the United States Postal Service a consistent look, replacing a seal with a horse and post-rider that had allegedly been in use for centuries. The United States Postal Service revealed this mark in August 1970

Elna is a Swiss maker of sewing machines, some of which were designed by CEI. They are still using a modified version of this wordmark.

The Computer Terminal Corporation was company in Texas that made, well, computer terminals. Formed in the late 1960s, it would later change its name to Datapoint.

Wilmington Savings Fund Bank is a bank in Wilimngton, Delaware, currently known as WSFS Bank.

Atlas Chemical Industries was once a major American chemical company. It was later bought by ICI.

Shell Petroleum was one of Loewy's clients for several years. In the early 70s, the company launched a completely refreshed corporate image programme, including a streamlined version of its classic "pecten" symbol.

When Jersey Standard Oil wanted to unite its stations around the United States under one brand, they were legally forbidden from using the familiar "Esso" brand in all states. Loewy was reportedly influential in coming up with the name "Exxon", which was different enough, but still familiar. The conception of this brand has been the source of various curious stories. When asked to explain why there are two Xs in the name, Loewy once allegedly answered "Why do you ask?", and saw that as a sufficient answer.

Property insurer Chubb are still using this odd symbol.

In addition to this trademark, Loewy also designed several products for Wallace Silversmiths, an American maker of silverware.

1 comment:

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