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Peering Into The Future

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I think about Syd Mead a lot.

An intense amount of science fiction and industrial design aesthetic are directly based around or at least inspired by his concepts.
There's solidness to his designs. Even what stays as a painting.
Every mechanical bit is rendered with proportions that let you almost feel your hands move over the contours and edges of industrial metal.

Mead was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on July 18, 1933 to a family led by a roving baptist minister. He was an artistic child in the post-Gernsback world with an affinity for covered fenders and the smoothed bodies of early luxury cars.

After highschool Mead did inking, character art, and background illustration at Alexander Film Company but in 1953 he joined the US Army. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan, he sent to chief Ford designer John Mueller Reinhart some drawings and also comments about the newly announced Lincoln Continental Mark II.
Reinhart's reply was pretty much, "If you're interested in car design then you should consider Art Center in Los Angeles".

Out of the Army, in 1956 he headed for LA and was immediately recruited by Elwood Engel of Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Styling Studio upon completion at Art Center.
After two years, Syd Mead felt confident enough to move toward a more freelance life and left Ford but continued to design for them afterward.

From Phillips to US Steel, Tron to Aliens, Mead's designs can be found all over but even more apparent is the impact he's left on design.


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