The United States Postal Service’s newest commemorative set, honoring pioneers of American industrial design, is being dedicated today at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.
The stamps feature work by 12 of the country’s most influential historic designers, including Donald Deskey, who designed Radio City’s famous Art Deco interiors, and Frederick Hurten Rhead, known for his Fiesta line of ceramic tableware. USPS art director Derry Noyes has selected one iconic object to pay tribute to each of the designers. As the daughter of IBM designer Eliot Noyes, she has a personal connection to one stamp in particular: the elder Noyes is represented in the series by his Selectric typewriter (1961).
The term Industrial Design refers not merely to a current field of production but also to a historic movement that advocated streamlined design during the Depression. After the decorative extravagance of the ’20s, consumers were drawn to a modern esthetic that evoked speed, utility and efficiency. Industrial Design redefined the look of 20th-century America through furniture, architecture, appliances and vehicles.
“American designers, whose influence over the course of the last century has been enormous and international, have been mostly unrecognized by the public. They are known primarily by curators, collectors and design galleries,” David McFadden, chief curator of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, told A.i.A. “Now, with the release of this stamp series, they will receive their proper recognition by the public at large.”
The American Industrial Design stamps follow last year’s Abstract Expressionist series, which featured Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, among other American artists.
The stamps, bearing Forever postage, go on sale June 29 nationwide.