Raymond Loewy is considered the father of Industrial Design. This article chronicles his incredible journey, placing emphasis on a critical insight he had that changed the nature of design … and ultimately how things are sold in our culture. While many of us outside of the design world have not heard of Raymond Loewy, most of us are familiar with his iconic work including the design of the first streamlined trains, the Exxon logo, the Greyhound Bus, and even the color combinations chosen for Air Force One!

I’ll save you having to sift through the article for the four-letter code for selling anything (it’s not the word “fear”, which I originally suspected), so he’re a passage describing what Loewy termed Maya – in this case used as an acronym. Though not mentioned in the article, Maya is the Hindu term for illusion (or the power by which the universe is manifest), which in some sense is what’s going on here.

“Loewy had an uncanny sense of how to make things fashionable. He believed that consumers are torn between two opposing forces: neophilia, a curiosity about new things; and neophobia, a fear of anything too new. As a result, they gravitate to products that are bold, but instantly comprehensible. Loewy called his grand theory “Most Advanced Yet Acceptable”—maya. He said to sell something surprising, make it familiar; and to sell something familiar, make it surprising.”

Hats off to a man who both envisioned and enabled key facets of the future we experience today.