Design Consultancies

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These emerged as increasingly significant in the 1920s and 1930s when many major manufacturing clients, especially in the United States, sought to make their products more attractive in the increasingly competitive consumer market places of the industrialized world. As many products were increasingly geared to the idea of built‐in obsolescence, the need for product differentiation and desirability took on a greater urgency and companies began to seek external advice in shaping their design policies. Pioneering American industrial designers such as Raymond Loewy, Norman Bel Geddes, Walter Dorwin Teague, and Henry Dreyfuss forged close links with major companies such as Chrysler, General Motors, IBM, Texaco, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Bell Telephone, organizing their businesses as consultancies with a range of expertise that embraced design, engineering and production, model making, and marketing. Although a number of these early consultancies were quite significant in terms of size (Geddes, for example, employed about 30 in 1934), and self‐promotion, it was not until after the Second World War that design consultancies became significantly widespread in the United States and the rest of the industrialized world, a number becoming almost as multinational and global as many of their more significant clients.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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