SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2008

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Looking & Learning Telephone design and communication has come a long way since Henry Dreyfuss designed the Model 302 in the early 1930s. About the Object In the early 1930s, Dreyfuss won the "Phone of the Future" competition at young talent in stage design. As a stage designer, Dreyfuss had the opportunity to design not just sets, but full interiors and accoutrements; these experiences would prove valuable when he was asked to design corporate identities and products. Referring to himself as an industrial designer, Dreyfuss opened an office in New York in 1928 and soon distinguished himself as a designer for mass production. By favoring practicality and streamlined styling, he gained the lasting respect of his clients. In the 1950s, he brought the use of anthropometrics (the study of human dimensions and capabilities) into his practice, paving the way for others. He saw his product designs not as singular objects, but as parts that related to the whole of the company. His success as a designer lies not just in his experience or in his conceptualization of the whole, but in his consideration of the user. He is famously quoted as saying, "If there is tension between the user and the object, the designer has failed." Telephone Model 302, designed by henry Dreyfuss Allison Valchuis and Marianna Siciliano About the Designer Henry Dreyfuss was one of America's best known and most influential industrial designers, developing now iconic products for companies such as Bell Laboratories (telephones), Hoover (vacuums), John Deere (tractors), and Honeywell, Inc. He had a profound impact on the daily lives of millions of Americans. Through industrial design, he raised the standards of American industry. His work was characterized by a constant focus on the needs of the average consumer. Born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn in 1904, Dreyfuss studied fine art on a scholarship to the New York Society for Ethical Culture's high school. In school, he learned the rudiments of staging theatrical productions, as well as dedication to and concern for the welfare of others. The school instilled strong social ideals, as well as the importance of individual responsibility and group cooperation— ideals which would later inform his design practice both as a businessperson and a designer. He worked as an apprentice to Norman Bel Geddes, a genius of stage and industrial design. In 1927, Dreyfuss set out on his own, and within a few years was recognized as a bright

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