Keith Godard (1938–2020)
Keith Godard was playful, funny, irreverent, and smart. Decked out in dapper bow ties and bright red shoes, he brought bubbles of joy to every occasion. He and Studio Works, the company he founded in 1986, contributed mightily to life in New York City. His works are preserved in many museum collections, including Cooper Hewitt,...
Image features a wallpaper illustrating the history of the locomotive, in a repeat of scattered drawings of locomotives and railway trains in orange, gray, and yellow, accompanied by the dates 1830, 1870, and 1935. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Train History on the Wall
Welcome to the Object of the Week blog. This March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, each Monday a new post will highlight women designers in the collection. This wallpaper called Transportation traces the history of the railroad from 1830 to about 1938. The designer, Mary Louise Leake, was inspired to create this design after...
Image features a poster for the New York Subway Advertising Company, encouraging businesses to purchase advertising space in subway stations or on trains. In the foreground, at bottom left, a single train's rail, rendered in perspective extends into a black, spiraling tunnel. At the vanishing point of the tunnel, a cluster of colorful, overlapping rectangles, meant to represent posters. Across the bottom, in black text: [New York Subway Advertising Company logo] RAILS TO SALES / SUBWAY POSTERS [a red line cuts through the center of "subway posters"]. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Rails to Sales on the New York City Subway
This poster, designed for the New York Subway Advertising Company, exemplifies the signature approach of American graphic designers Otis (Shep) Shepard and Dorothy Van Gorder—the poster prioritizes the image as text becomes peripheral to the overall message. It combines reductive, abstracted forms with ample airbrushing to create a dynamic arrangement. The pair met in 1927...
Image features four horizontal rows of people and trains, rendered in black ink on paper
Spot the Difference: Steinberg Edition
Born in Romania in 1914, Saul Steinberg once described himself as “a writer who draws.”[1] Steinberg fled Europe in 1941, settling in New York City by 1942. While living in the United States, he traveled widely and observed the world around him in a highly whimsical style with an eye toward criticism and satire. Steinberg’s...
Image features a car with bright headlights is shown driving across a bridge at night. Lights in the distance are reflected in the water. A light bulb is encircled in the upper right-hand corner, emphasizing the product the car is utilizing. At the bottom of the poster appears the brand name PHILIPS in large orange block letters with white dashes. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Illuminating the Road Ahead
When Louis C. Kalff was hired by Philips in 1925, the company was one of the largest producers of lightbulbs in the world. Kalff created a brand identity for the company, including the iconic logo. For this poster, Kalff illustrated a car whose piercing bright headlights illuminate the scene. The stylized arcs and angles reflect...
Design Pulse: What is the Future of Mobility Design?
Leading figures in design, transportation, and technology share their perspectives on the future of mobility.
Rendering of the view of the street from the front seat of a car, with text and iconography noting elements of the cityscape.
Who Owns the City of the Future?
Autonomous vehicles, electric cars, and ride-sharing applications are disruptive innovations that hold unknown outcomes for society.
Drawing, Concept Car, ca. 1935; Designed by William McBride (American, 1912 - 2000); brush and gouache, pen and ink on illustration board; 16.5 × 54.6 cm (6 1/2 × 21 1/2 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2017-18-14
A Stylist Ahead of His Time
In the early 1930s, the General Motors Art and Colour division was emerging as the most innovative hub of automotive stylists. William McBride was a young man living in Chicago’s South Side, dreaming of fanciful and futuristic cars. As a boy, he “spent sixteen years learning how to design automobiles, to make them real. Cars...
Highway Reads
In celebration of the museum’s inaugural Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access taking place in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery through February 15, we are highlighting innovative accessible design from the permanent collection. The Clearview typeface is a beautiful example of the way design helps to improve people’s daily lives. A product of the...