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#109 - Henry Dreyfuss - Art and Design XXIII

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Article written by
Rosa Cortázar Meléndez

Who was Henry Dreyfuss?

Henry Dreyfuss was, along with Raymond Loewy, a pioneer of industrial design in the interwar period. He made major contributions to rationalism and his concern for consumer welfare meant that he left a legacy of in-depth research into anthropometry and ergonomics. These can be found in his books Designing for people, 1955, with a focus on industrial design, and The measure of man, 1960, with data on the human body and its movements.

Henry Dreyfuss methodology

His working methodology was based on "Analysis, Sketching, Modeling, Presentation and Critique" and revolved around these five points:

  • Utility and safety: in relation to simplicity, ergonomics, intuitive design.
  • Maintainability: looking at how easy it is to keep the product working.
  • Cost: assessing tool and labour costs and trying to reduce them as much as possible.
  • Sales appeal: the psychological value of the excellence of the hidden mechanism.
  • Appearance: analysing whether it will attract attention when placed next to other products.

But this is not only seen in his books, one example is the telephones he designed for the Bell Telephone Company.

Henry Dreyfuss telephone

The Telephone 300, designed in the 1930s, was the first to have a handset and microphone together, with that curved shape that we all know; years later, in 1959, he created the Princess Telephone, in different colours and smaller, associated with young women; and in 1962 he made the Trimline Telephone, popularly known as the gondola, a smaller device with a more modern look.

I leave you here the book of The measure of man: http://design.data.free.fr/RUCHE/documents/Ergonomie

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