Posted in aerospace, education, engineering

Function meets style

Today features a small smattering of samples on the subject of industrial design.

The first is a profile on pioneering industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Loewy is pretty much THE industrial designer of the first half of the 20th century, from Art Deco to cars to trains. You can check out some highlights of his work in this slideshow.

As a sort of state-of-the-art comparison, these are the latest creations spawned from Western Washington University’s class that challenges burgeoning industrial design students to make new stuff out of old stuff. The best products are sold at a local store (and online!). I have seen some imaginative, great-looking, and very functional products come out of this particular program, and I’m sure there are similar programs out there like this.

I suspect that when most people think about Industrial Design they think of those car commercials in the 80s where there are a bunch of people with glasses and labcoats shaving clay off of a sort-of-car-shaped block. And while most industrial design programs are housed in a university’s Arts program and probably more competitive to get into, in today’s programs there is quite a bit of science that goes into figuring out how to create an airplaine chair that is actually comfortable to sit in for more than 20 minutes, or a refridgerator designed with the freezer on the bottom so your Thanksgiving turkey doesn’t fall out onto your head (or your foot. Ouch). Just some food for thought.



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.