Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7 - Brooks Stevens

Industrial and graphic designer Brooks Stevens was born on June 7, 1911, in Milwaukee. His father helped him conquer polio as a child by motivating him to draw, build models and swim. He studied architecture at Cornell University (1929-1933), then started a design firm in Milwaukee, patterning his work after Raymond Loewy and other “streamline” designers of the era. Stevens’ work left a major imprint on modern design: the wide-mouth peanut butter jar; the first clothes dryer with a glass window; a station wagon version of the Jeep (“Jeepster,” 1942); the streamlined “Olympian Hiawatha” train (1947) for the Milwaukee Road, with an all-glass Skytop Lounge car; the Miller High Life logo and packaging; the Studebaker GT Hawk and the Lark (1962); Evinrude boats, including the Runabout; a key version of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile; the boomerang ("Skylark") graphic for Formica; and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, including the 1949 Hydra-Glide Harley. All Harleys are based on Stevens’ body designs. In 1954 he coined the term “planned obsolescence.”

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