U.S. Postal Service Goes Designer

July 19, 2011

The U.S. Postal Service has dedicated a new sheet of stamps honoring 12 of the nation's most influential industrial designers. The designers honored on individual stamps include Peter Muller-Munk, Frederick Hurten Rhead, Raymond Loewy, Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, Norman Bel Geddes, Dave Chapman, Greta von Nessen, Eliot Noyes, Russel Wright and Gilbert Rohde.

"Encompassing everything from furniture and electric kitchen appliances to corporate office buildings and passenger trains, the work of these designers defined the look of modern America, and in doing, revolutionized the way we live and work," said Dean Granholm, Postal Service VP of delivery and post office operations.

Industrial design emerged as a profession in the United States in the 1920s, but flourished during the Great Depression. Faced with decreasing sales, manufacturers turned to industrial designers to give their products a modern look that would appeal to consumers. Characterized by horizontal lines and rounded shapes, the new, streamlined looks differed from the decorative extravagance of the 1920s. The designs evoked a sense of speed and efficiency and projected an image of progress and affluence.

Consumer interest in modern design continued to increase after World War II, when machines allowed corporations to mass produce consumer goods at low cost. Industrial designers helped lower costs further by exploiting inexpensive new materials like plastic, vinyl, chrome, aluminum and plywood, which responded well to advances in manufacturing such as the use of molds and stamping. Even as streamlining gave way to new looks in the 1960s, the groundbreaking work of industrial designers continued to transform the look of homes and offices across the country.

Each stamp features the name of a designer and a photograph of an object created by the designer, as well as a description of the object and the year or years when the object was created.

The Pioneers of American Industrial Design stamps can be found at or through 1-800 782-6724.

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