Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Greatest Designer of Corporate Logos Was a World War I Veteran


Designer Raymond Loewy was a an engineering officer in the French Army who served at Verdun.  He came to America and found his new career as an industrial designer.  One of the off-shoots of that was providing corporate logos for many of his clients.  Above is what might be considered his masterpiece.  

In 1936 the company hired him to redesign the letter series of their tractors. The result was so good that the management asked Loewy to also rethink the main logo...and this is how the famous “Man on Tractor” logo appeared: Loewy sketched it on a menu while being on the train from Chicago to New York. However, it took some time for the company to change the official visual identity of the International Harvester, and the logo was introduced only in 1946. The main part of the new logo consisted of two letters—the uppercase “H” in a massive bold sans-serif, drawn in black, and the lowercase “i” with square shapes, executed in red and placed over the “H.” The original dot above the “i” was replaced by the square, which made the whole logo look masculine and strong.

The iconic “Man On Tractor” emblem was kept even after the acquisition of the brand by Navistar in 1986. Below are some of the better known creations of Raymond Loewy.

Hat Tip to Iowahawk. Text from 1000 Logos


  1. Loewy also designed the futuristic post-war Studebakers, which were the first new auto designs produced after WW2. Although Loewy was a brilliant designer he lacked manufacturing knowledge. Due primarily to the way that the bodies had to be assembled the Studebakers were very prone to rust damage.

  2. My first car and still one of the loves of my life: the 1953 Studebaker Commander coupe. A classic in design (if not manufacturing!).

  3. I love those later Studebekers: Golden & Silver Hawks; the Lark was ok but not stellar. I thought the Avanti would be their savior, but alas that wasn't to be. I once saw I a late teen or early 1920's model; was so impressed by the quality of the metal and the engine; very well built machines.

  4. Very interesting. As a graphic designer / art director, I enjoyed this information. Thank you!