Henry Dreyfuss

Our Search for Symbols, 2024
Henry Dreyfuss's team collected thousands of symbols for the Symbol Sourcebook. What might a Symbol Sourcebook, crowdsourced in 2024 with your submissions, look like?
Signs of the Times: Correction(s)
As with any published book, Henry Dreyfuss confronts errors in his symbols masterpiece.
Signs of the Times: Who Should Produce the Symbol Sourcebook?
Henry Dreyfuss and Leo Burnett—major influences in 20th-century design—assessed the creative, practical, and financial implications of the project.
Signs of the Times: Breaking the Language Barrier
In soliciting information about symbols from people and organizations around the globe, Henry Dreyfuss sent out two articles that expressed his vision for symbols' potential to transcend written or spoken language.
Signs of the Times: A Reminder about Isotype
While researching for the Symbol Sourcebook, Henry Dreyfuss was reminded of an important set of symbols from earlier in the 20th century.
Page from the book the Symbol Sourcebook showing black text and black and grey imagery on a white background; “HOME ECONOMICS” at top left with “Dressmaking and Tailoring” below to indicate three rows of symbols including a pair of pants with two parallel stripes on the left leg with “TAKE IN PANTS LEG” below.
Signs of the Times: Questions for Vogue
Henry Dreyfuss worked to get the Symbol Sourcebook promoted on the pages of the magazine to an unexpected result.
Page one of a handwritten timeline on yellow line paper with text written neatly in black with red underlining. Full transcript of the document at the bottom of the webpage.
Signs of the Times: Symbol Sourcebook Chronology
Paul Clifton, project manager of the Symbol Sourcebook, compiled a chronology documenting key moments in the development of the project.
Sink or be Sunk
The 1940s after World War II (1939-1945) marked a phase of industrial design that centered on the consumer. Coined by prolific industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972) as the “Decisive decade”, manufacturers began acquiring prestige by redesigning products that met the needs of a changing society.[1] Populations had grown extensively from incoming immigrants; housing for returning...
Office interior with figures standing along walls; and figures sitting at desk at left; map on wall and screen; waiting area at center of floor.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to America
In his famous book, On The Road (1957), Jack Kerouac relays a cross-country adventure he undertook in 1949:  “…. eyes bent on Frisco and the coast, we came into El Paso as it got dark, broke. We absolutely had to get some money for gas or we’d never make it. We tried everything. We buzzed the...