green dymaxion car - American Ingenuity

Prolific Imagination: Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller is a name many Americans may be familiar with, yet most probably can't say exactly why. Today, Fuller is identified with numerous concepts and inventions, the most famous of which is the geodesic dome, which can be seen in such structures as EPCOT's Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World in Orlando and the Biosphere (originally part of Expo '67) in Montreal, Canada.

black and white photo of Alexey Brodovitch

A Forgotten Pioneer: Alexey Brodovitch

Alexey Vyacheslavovich Brodovitch was one of the best-known art directors in America in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, famous for his work on venerable fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar, published by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Although he's not as recognized today as some of his peers from that era, Brodovitch set the standard for avant-garde publication design in the middle of the 20th century, especially for mass-market culture periodicals.

photo of lester beall

Taking American Design Forward: Lester Beall

Among American graphic artists, there are relatively few individuals whose work is inextricably tied to the poster format, particularly as it was represented in the propaganda art campaigns the U.S. government ran during the Great Depression and throughout World War II. But Lester Beall was one such artist, whose work was irresistibly modern and who nearly single-handedly pushed graphic design for the masses relentlessly forward into the future even as his American peers were toying with more artistic-based and esoteric approaches.

harry bertoia

Making Sculpture Modern: Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia was an Italian-American artist, sculptor and jewelry and furniture designer whose creations have become emblematic of the stark, minimalist but undeniably elegant 1950s and 1960s large-scale artworks that adorn numerous modern metropolitan and institutional landmark structures of this era.

russel wright

Trendsetting Modernist: Russel Wright

The concept of mass production of consumer goods in America started to be realized in the early 20th century. The industries that produced these products -- kitchenware, bath accessories, furniture and home electronics - rapidly learned that hiring an artist or craftsperson to style their products could greatly improve sales. Between the 1920s and the 1960s, one of the country's most eminent designers of these items was Russel Wright.

A Memorable Identity: Massimo Vignelli

Among America’s greatest-ever graphic designers, the name Massimo Vignelli looms large. Although he was born in Milan, Italy, Vignelli lived more than half a century in the United States and produced his most beloved and greatest work in his adopted land.

Mobile Visionary: William Hawley Bowlus

In the years following World War II, America experienced what's now termed a "postwar boom" economically. Soldiers coming home from the conflict were able to buy houses cheaply, and American industry went into overdrive producing consumer goods that new American families would buy.

Helene Rother photo

Female Pioneer: Helene Rother

In the history of American industrial design, the name Helene Rother is not very well known, but if one goes back about 50 years, her name graced numerous advertisements for American automobiles, occasionally as "Madame Helene Rother of Paris." That's because Rother possessed European roots, but fled the Continent as World War II raged.