My inspiration died a couple of months before I started on my foundation course. That didn’t come out right. Raymond Loewy died in 1986, but it is the sheer variety of his work that has always inspired me.
I’m no flag-waving fan of Americana, but have always been drawn to the beautiful execution of a simple idea. The medium of delivery being irrelevant.
I can still remember coming across a Loewy book at college and being blown away by the scope of work. From the reflective observation of the New Man logo to the streamlined planes, trains and automobiles, this French-born designer literally ‘shaped’ America – well, at least curved it.
I did my time at Maidstone College, starting on a graphic design course and graduating in design communication (we assumed the college knew what it was doing). Then to The Chase’s London office, and there the variety really started. Ben Casey is that someone with a ‘what if?’ approach. During my first three years we designed buildings, interiors and products, with a couple of brochures and posters thrown in for good measure.
Now, as creative director of Small Back Room, I love working with all of our teams, from building brands to building environments. But compared to Loewy – who designed Air Force One for President Kennedy and, from 1967 to 1973, worked for Nasa, producing the first interior design standards used in the Apollo and Skylab series – we’ve still got some way to go.