Henry Dreyfuss (March 2, 1904 – October 5, 1972) was an American industrial designer.
Dreyfuss was a native of Brooklyn, New York. As one of the celebrity industrial designers of the 1930s and 1940s, Dreyfuss dramatically improved the look, feel, and usability of dozens of consumer products. As opposed to Raymond Loewy and other contemporaries, Dreyfuss was not a stylist: he applied common sense and a scientific approach to design problems. His work both popularized the field for public consumption, and made significant contributions to the underlying fields of ergonomics, anthropometrics, and human factors.
Until 1920 Dreyfuss studied as an apprentice to theatrical designer Norman Bel Geddes, his later competitor, and opened his own office in 1929 for theatrical and industrial design activities. It was an immediate and long-lasting commercial success. As of 2005 his firm continues to operate as Henry Dreyfuss Associates with major corporate clients.
Significant original Dreyfuss designs include:
In 1955 Dreyfuss wrote Designing for People, an autobiography which features his "Joe" and "Josephine" simplified anthropometric charts. In 1960 he published The Measure of Man, an ergonomic reference.
Dreyfuss was the first President of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).
On October 5, 1972, at their home in South Pasadena, California, Dreyfuss and his wife, Doris Marks, who was terminally ill, committed suicide. They were found in a car, killed by self-inflicted carbon monoxide poisoning. Earlier that year, Marks had been diagnosed with liver cancer. Now, after his death there is still a Henry Dreyfuss design company.
Dreyfuss, Henry. Symbol Sourcebook: An Authoritative Guide to International Graphic Symbols. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1984. ISBN 0471288721
Dreyfuss, Henry. Designing for People. Allworth Press; illustrated edition edition, 2003. ISBN 1581153120
Flinchum, Russell. Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Designer: The Man in the Brown Suit. Rizzoli, 1997. ISBN 0-8478-2010-6
Innes, Christopher. Designing Modern America: Broadway to Main Street. Yale University Press, 2005. ISBN 0300108044