Walter Dorwin Teague 1883–1960
Walter Dorwin Teague was born in the small farming town of Decatur, Indiana in 1883. Inspired by books on architecture, he developed a remarkable talent for drawing. In 1903 he moved to New York, studying painting at the Art Students League of New York by night and honing his drafting skills as a successful illustrator in advertising firms around the city during the day. For Teague, everything changed after a trip to Paris in 1926 where he studied Bauhaus design and the work of Le Corbusier. He returned with a desire to elevate the significance of machine-made objects by combining consumer tastes with the high values of art and he started his own industrial design firm. As a design consultant, Teague developed the idea of corporate identity and branding for an impressive client list including Ford, Corning Glass, Polaroid, Boeing and Texaco. He designed several popular camera models for Kodak, including the hugely successful Brownie. Teague desired to create meaningful connections between industry and the consumer and found the perfect outlet for his vision in directing the design of the 1939 World’s Fair. A celebration of industry and technology, the fair embodied the aesthetic of the Machine-Age, a term Teague helped coin. His 1940 book, Design This Day: The Technique of Order in the Machine Age, remains one of the most powerful statements on design in the 20th Century.
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