Raymond Loewy, 92, who gave style, shape and vivid visual appeal to the products of American industry and the objects of everyday life as one of the world's foremost industrial designers, died yesterday in Monaco.
From the 1920s into the 1970s, Mr. Loewy applied his skill in both art and engineering, his fondness for streamlines and simplicity and his aversion to excess and waste to designs that included automobiles, refrigerators and trains as well as dishes, dinette sets and department store interiors.
Over the years the French-born naturalized American put his stamp on the notable Studebaker automobiles of the post-World War II period, with their trend-setting wrap-around windshields; on the company's Avanti II sports car of the 1960s, which survived its maker; the red and yellow Ritz cracker box; the blue and white Greyhound bus; the Exxon logo, and the Carling Black Label beer can.
While some of his best known designs were big-ticket items such as locomotives, he and the firm he established also were responsible for fistfuls of such products as lipsticks, electric shavers and ballpoint pens.
They embellished the daily lives of Americans and millions of other people around the world, they created design consciousness where it had not existed and they spawned imitators and imitations by the hundreds.
Mr. Loewy was a consultant to the U.S. space program, designed the logo of the U.S. Postal Service and received many honors.
A man who embodied in his personal life the gentle elegance of his professional career, Mr. Loewy was at home in the world of yachts and penthouses, and had lived in Monaco for the past six years. His wife, Viola, attributed his death to natural causes. Further details were unavailable.
An apostle of functionalism whose work assumed an almost mythic quality that helped to define the decades in which it was done, Mr. Loewy scored his first big success in 1934 with the redesign of the Coldspot refrigerator for Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Using nonrusting aluminum shelves for the first time, the redesigned Coldspot proved a hot seller, even in the Depression-ridden '30s.
Its history underscored Mr. Loewy's definition of good design as an attribute that "keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended."
Mr. Loewy's father was a Viennese writer on economics. His mother was from the south of France. Determinedly ambitious for her sons, she often repeated to them the adage: "It is better to be envied than pitied."
An engineering graduate of the University of Paris, Mr. Loewy began advanced engineering studies that were interrupted by World War I. Entering the French Army as a corporal, he rose to captain. Deploring the cut of the breeches he was issued, he designed his own and wore them through combat duty in which he won the Croix de Guerre with four citations.
After completing his advanced degree but finding himself jobless, Mr. Loewy took the advice of a brother, a research scientist in the United States, and sailed for New York. Sketches he did en route led to jobs as a fashion illustrator and display designer for stores and magazines.
Deciding that the appearance of American products failed to match their quality and quantity, he opened his own design firm in the late 1920s. Its functionalist philosophy held that for every object, no matter how complex, there existed some ideal form that could express its function with both grace and economy.
Functionalism was neither universally nor immediately popular. Mr. Loewy had critics who believed that he improved items that needed no improvement. The title of his 1951 autobiography appeared to take faintly ironic note of this criticism. The book was called: "Never Leave Well Enough Alone."
The enthusiastic success of his Coldspot refrigerator paved the way to rapid acceptance of Mr. Loewy's firm and its work. According to a rough estimate made in the 1940s, one year's sales of products designed by Mr. Loewy amounted to $3 billion.
His marriage to Jean Loewy ended in divorce. He and his second wife had a daughter, Laurence, who was born in 1953.