INDUSTRIAL DESIGN 5
October 1954: Volume 1, Number 5
Jane Fisk Mitarachi [Editor]
Jane Fisk Mitarachi [Editor]: INDUSTRIAL DESIGN 5. New York: Whitney Publications, Inc., October 1954 [Volume 1, Number 5]. Original Edition. A very good original magazine with a uniform band of soiling to the covers' fore edge and slight waviness to the textblock. Cover images from the Georgia Experiment’s COMMUNICATION PRIMER by George Nelson, Charles Eames and Alexander Girard.
9 x 12 magazine with 144 pages and illustrated throughout and printed on different stocks, including an amazing variety of editorial content. Here is what the publishers wanted this magazine to accomplish: "A bi-monthly review of form and technique in designing for industry. Published for active industrial designers and the design executives throughout industry who are concerned with product design, development and marketing."
This issue of INDUSTRIAL DESIGN celebrated all the best of modern American industrial design. Includes many examples of furniture, ceramics, housewares, appliances, automobiles, buildings, radios, projectors, televisions, and many other objects designed for the burgeoning postwar middle class.
- Letter from the Tenth Triennale By Jack Dunbar
- The Georgia Experiment by George Nelson
- What’s Going on at Olivetti?
- Men and Machines
- Christmas and the Distiller
- The Tastemakers by Russell Lynes
- Department 817, Sears Roebuck
- What They say about Plastic Tooling
- Sound Carries
- Die-Cut Menagerie: Harry and Marion Zelenko
- Cleveland’s Transit Shelters
- Honeywell’s Round Thermostat
- Design Review: furniture, ceramics, housewares, appliances, automobiles, radios, projectors, televisions, and many other objects
- Regular features include Contributors’ Profiles, Letters, News, Editorial, Technics, Design Review, and Manufacturers Literature.
Issue Highlights include:
The Georgia Experiment: Ray Kaiser Eames: "The Georgia Experiment [was] how to improve the teaching of design, and art, really, it was art. George Nelson and ourselves were involved and, instead of making a report, we made a film. Or rather, we put together an hour program made up of film and slides and words and clips of other films. It was intended as an example of how material could be used to give a base for student and teacher from which to develop and expand -- not use up all the time, step by step, all of the teacher's time and the student's time. And that was shown. But we wanted examples. For instance, we chose the subject of communications, because we were all interested in that and thought we would find little clips of things that would explain it and help it. We couldn't find any. We had just a terrible waste of time looking at catalogues, trying to find films and finding that it took forty-five minutes to get to a point which was not made clearly. So that's when we decided we'd have to do something ourselves. And then later, Alexander Girard was called in and put on this -- did you ever hear of the "Sample Lesson?" It was shown first in Georgia, then at U.C.L.A. You know, it's like a club, the people who have seen it and the people who haven't seen it."
Honeywell's Round Thermostat During his 44-year career, the versatile Henry Dreyfuss designed hundreds of products that have become icons of modern design, among them the Princess and Trimline telephones, John Deere tractors and Hoover vacuum cleaners, which he outfitted with headlights and bumpers to protect furniture. Other designs by Dreyfuss range from the familiar Honeywell round, wall-mounted thermostat, the Big Ben alarm clock, trains such as the 20th Century Limited for the New York Central Railroad, and the "Situation Room" for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during World War II. Dreyfuss streamlined even his wardrobe by wearing only brown suits, stayed exclusively at the Plaza hotel while he was in New York, so clients could always find him, and reportedly missed only five days of work in twenty-two years. He enjoyed long-standing relationships with such firms as AT&T, John Deere & Co., Honeywell and Lockheed.
What's Going on at Olivetti? Development of the design culture at Olivetti, as seen through the opening of their New York Office and Showroom.
Letter from the Tenth Triennale 20 pages on the legendary Milan Triennale Exposition of 1954. Covers all modern media from Italy, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Israel, Spain, Germany, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Austria, the United States, and others. Also contains detailed descriptions of the 1954 Triennale's physical layout, as well as historical information about the Triennale Exposition.
Here is former ID editor Ralph Caplan's recounting the magazines birth: "Fifty years ago, the publisher Charlie Whitney ran into Henry Dreyfuss. 'Henry,' he said, 'I'm about to publish a magazine for industrial designers.' 'Wonderful,' Henry replied. 'There are 14 of us.' Caplan remembered, "I.D. was not begun as a magazine for industrial designers, but as a magazine for anyone who had a stake in design and cared about it. This allowed a great deal of editorial latitude."
In DESIGN LITERACY (Second Edition, Allworth Press), Steven Heller wrote an essay describing the historical significance of Alvin Lustig's short tenure as Industrial Design's Art Director: "A design icon doesn't come along every day. To be so considered it must not only transcend its function and stand the test of time, but also must represent the time in which it was produced. The cover of Industrial Design, Vol. 1 No.1, February 1954, was not just the emblem of a new publishing venture, but a testament to one man's modernism; one of the last works created by Alvin Lustig (1915-1955), who suffered an untimely death from diabetes in 1955 at the age of forty-five."
"On the editorial side, however, Whitney decided to take a calculated risk by promoting two young Interiors associate editors to co-editors of Industrial Design. Jane Fisk (now Jane Thompson of the architectural firm Thompson & Wood in Cambridge) and Deborah Allen may have been inexperienced in the field of industrial design but nevertheless had a clear plan to introduce a distinctly journalistic sensibility into professional publishing that emphasized criticism and analysis rather than the puff pieces common to the genre. As it turned out, this became a point of philosophical contention between the designer and editors."
"If they had a choice the editors would have preferred an art director who, as Thompson explained, "would have been in the trenches with us," a team player with journalistic instincts rather than a distant presence with a formalist sensibility. Because Lustig designed the initial dummy and subsequent two issues in his own studio and returned with the completed layouts to the editorial offices he had made certain assumptions about the presentation of content that were often inconsistent with the editors' vision. "We did not want the words to be gray space, we wanted them to have meaning," recalled Thompson about wanting more spontaneous design responses to the material. But instead of being journalistically intuitive, Lustig imposed his formal preconceptions, and designed the magazine as he would a book."
"Blocks of text type were indeed used as gray matter to frame an abundance of precisely silhouetted photographs. But if there was a problem it was more in the editors' minds than Lustig's design. While it was not as journalistically paced as say, a Life magazine, it was respectfully, indeed elegantly neutral allowing, for a wide range of material to be presented without interference. Moreover, it was what Whitney wanted, so the editors reconciled themselves to building the magazine's editorial reputation through informative features written by authors not previously associated with trade publishing."
"Thompson nevertheless hated the first cover with its tight grid and silhouetted photographs. Instead she wanted to disrupt the design purity with a few well composed coverlines. She further favored a conceptual method of intersecting photography, resulting in an editorial idea, not a pure design. Lustig thought coverlines would sully the design and intersecting ideas would be too contrived. Years later, Thompson grudgingly admitted that maybe Lustig's judgment was wiser: "He wanted to make a strong simple statement, which he believed (perhaps erroneously since Industrial Design did not have to compete on the newsstand) had to stand up against the covers of the elegant fashion magazines." Lustig's design set the standard for future covers, and his successor, Martin Rosensweig, continued to produce covers for a few years afterward that more rigidly adhered to the same formal practices."
"Despite these creative tensions, the early issues of Industrial Design reveal a shift in the nature of professional publishing from a trade to cultural orientation that was in no small way underscored by Lustig's classically modern design."
A sample spread from this volume can be viewed here.
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