Saturday, July 18, 2015

Henry Dreyfuss: design based on human factors

Design by Henry Dreyfuss (American, 1904–1972)
Drawing by Alvin R. Tilley (American, 1914–1993)

Designer Henry Dreyfuss’s suggestions for functional industrial design were based on human factors and ergonomics. As the graphic above indicates Dreyfuss carefully studied the proportions found in the human body when correlating product design and the user experience. The image above is taken from the exhibition Revealing the Body: The Art of Anatomy currently at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

The label for this piece states:

Three Basic Human Body Types—Profile, 1966
Black marker over graphite on gray linen

Anthropometry: in Greek, the word means the measure of man, but not only—it is the foundation of an entire philosophy that connects the human body, its proportions and movements, with the social and natural environment, and ultimately with the Universe. Henry Dreyfuss, the prominent American industrial designer, used the proportions of the body as a point off departure for his creations—for instance, he created the “Princess” telephone to fit the hands of teenage girls. His principles are deeply rooted in the core of 15th-century Renaissance thought—man is the measure of all things. 

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