Most Advanced Yet Acceptable—maya.
He said to sell something surprising, make it familiar; and to sell something familiar, make it surprising.
Several decades before he became the father of industrial design, Raymond Loewy boarded the SS France in 1919 to sail across the Atlantic from his devastated continent to the United States. The influenza pandemic had taken his mother and father, and his service in the French army was over.
At the age of 25, Loewy was looking to start fresh in New York, perhaps, he thought, as an electrical engineer. When he reached Manhattan, his older brother Maximilian picked him up in a taxi.
They drove straight to 120 Broadway, one of New York City’s largest neoclassical skyscrapers, with two connected towers that ascended from a shared base like a giant tuning fork. Loewy rode the elevator to the observatory platform, 40 stories up, and looked out across the island.
“New York was throbbing at our feet in the crisp autumn light,” Loewy recalled in his 1951 memoir. “I was fascinated by the murmur of the great city.” But upon closer examination, he was crestfallen.
In France, he had imagined an elegant, stylish place, filled with slender and simple shapes. The city that now unfurled beneath him, however, was a grungy product of the machine age—“bulky, noisy, and complicated. It was a disappointment.”
The world below would soon match his dreamy vision.
The Four-Letter Code to Selling Just About Anything