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Raymond Loewy - Creativity and DesignRaymond Loewy - Creativity and Design


Raymond Loewy (1893-1986)


French-born American industrial designer (pictured right).


What did he design?


1. Trains 

(for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1930’s).


Raymond Loewy - Creativity and Design

2.Studebaker cars 

  • Starliner Coupe, 1953 (pictured right). 
  • Avanti. 1961 


3. Greyhound bus (1954).

Raymond Loewy - Creativity and Design


4. Coca-Cola bottle (1955, pictured right),

Loewy improved it by:

  • slenderizing it. 
  • adding the white Coca-Cola lettering.


Why was he such a great designer?

 Raymond Loewy - Creativity and Design

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:

  • beauty.
  • 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:

  • pride.
  • enjoyment.
  • self-respect.

The project he enjoyed most was designing space capsules for astronauts during the 1960’s and 1970’s.


3. Innovation

He was:

  • 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 appealing.

For example, he thought the Coca-Cola bottle was appealing because:

“its shape is aggressively female”.


4. Inspiration

“It all must start with an inspired, spontaneous idea”, he said.

His most important source of inspiration was “educated intuition” that came from “profound experience”.


Raymond Loewy - Creativity and Design

5. Simplicity

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 performance.

“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. Raymond Loewy - Creativity and Design
  • make it look more distinctive.


6. Charisma

He was a charming and energetic man who managed to convince companies that better looking products would boost sales.


7. Distinctiveness

He wanted people to remember his designs, so he made them very

  • distinctive. Raymond Loewy - Creativity and Design
  • recognizable.

(like his logo for the Shell oil company, a yellow shell on a red background, which he designed in 1971, pictured right).


8. Teamwork

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 design

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.


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