During the 19th century, you would struggle to find a home that didn’t have one of the products designed by Henry Dreyfuss.
Henry Dreyfuss started as a theatrical designer in Broadway before branching out into Industrial Design where he significantly influenced the way the field would be viewed. Some of the most recognisable items, popularised through their ingenious design, or intelligent usability were designed by Dreyfuss. He applied a scientific approach to design and emphasised the fact that products needed to be used as a means to keep the user at the centre of the design process. He designed products to make them aesthetically pleasing to sight and touch, safer and easier to manufacture. This put the role of the industrial designer on the map. Well-known examples of his work and influence are the Hoover model 150, Westclox Big Ben alarm clock (still in production), Polaroid SX-70, American Airlines, and John Deere.
Dreyfuss wrote ‘Designing for People’ in 1955 detailing the ethical and aesthetic principles that guided his work. In 1960, he published ‘The Measure of Man’, a book made for designers. It gave them a collection of ergonomic charts with precise measurements. He became the first President of the Industrial Designers Society of America and his company, Henry Dreyfuss Associates, carried on for a half a century after his death.
“We bear in mind that the object being worked on is going to be ridden in, sat upon, looked at, talked into, activated, operated, or in some other way used by people individually or en masse.” – Henry Dreyfuss