One of the most unforgettable museum exhibits I've ever seen was "Curves of Steel: Streamlined Automobile Design" at the Phoenix Art Museum in 2009. It was a magnificent display of streamlined automotive design from the 1920's and 1930's. As a web designer, I found this exhibit deeply inspiring. Despite their age, these cars look fresh and innovative with curves that I could only wish would appear on modern vehicles. This was automobile design as eye candy at its finest.

Curves of Steel - Talbot Lago

It is interesting how influences in one field of design can so deeply impact design in other industries and disciplines. During the Great Depression, automobile design was influenced both by the research done in aerodynamics as applied to ships and airplanes, and, the optimistic future promised by the science of that time. The voluptuous, sweeping lines of these vehicles were the marriage of science and style that brazenly ignored the economic setbacks of the Depression years.

Streamlined Delahaye

I found this exhibit to be a humbling demonstration of a time when craftsmanship really mattered, and design was truly an art form. It inspired me to always go beyond the perfunctory and routine as a web designer. Cars of that time were more often the vision of a single designer and truly personal expressions. That really resonates with me. "Curves of Steel" reminds me to always inject a healthy dose of passion into all of my work as a designer.



Design Inspiration: Streamlined Auto…