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Industrial Designer Raymond Loewy once said: “I dream all the time. It’s the only way to keep awake.” Last week he got a dream-job: all the designing (from soap wrappers to retail stores) for one of the world’s great industrial empires, Britain’s 500-company, globe-girdling Unilever.

What made the job a designer’s dream was the fact that few of Unilever’s products had shucked their plain-paper wrappings of World War II. Almost always, a designer has to compromise his ideas with the maker’s notions of indispensable, brand-identifying trimmings. For Unilever, French-born Raymond Loewy could shoot the works. His terms, as usual, were cost (for the man-hours and materials of his 200-man office, $100,000-a-month payroll) plus an unrevealed annual retainer. On past jobs, the retainer has run from $2,000 to $200,000.

Back Door. Loewy, whose first soap wrapper design was for Lehn & Fink Products Corp., came into the Unilever empire through the back door. In 1938, up & coming young Charles Luckman hired him to redesign the package for Pepsodent toothpaste. Most toothpaste packages then screamed for attention with garish red containers and bold black print. Loewy persuaded Pepsodent to give its package an aseptic white exterior, with modest script lettering, which would make it look nice on a cosmetics counter. Up went Pepsodent’s sales by 17%. When Pepsodent and Luckman moved into Unilever’s huge U.S. branch, Lever Bros. Co., Loewy went with them.

Designer Loewy, 52, has come a long way since he landed in New York, at 27. He has streamlined automobiles (the old Hupmobile, the present Studebaker), railroad locomotives, club cars and coaches (for the Pennsylvania and the Monon), ships (the Matson line’s Lurline), airplane interiors (Constellations), fountain pens (Eversharp), supermarkets (California’s “Lucky” chain), department stores (Houston’s new windowless’ $12,000,000 Foley Bros.).

From the late George Washington Hill, president of the American Tobacco Co., Loewy won a $50,000 bet that he could improve the green & gold package of Lucky Strikes. He finally even persuaded Hill to change it to white (Lucky Strike green went to war) on the argument that since people put cigarettes in their mouths, they like to see them in sanitary-looking containers.

Driver’s Seat. Yearly sales of Loewy-designed products now exceed $1 billion. Loewy’s own gross runs between $2,500,000 and $3,000,000. His net, which he shares with five partners, including his good friend and ex-wife Virginia Thomson Loewy, is a secret, but Loewy manages to keep up two French chateaux, a Park Avenue apartment, a Long Island estate and a California desert hideaway. He likes to buy new limousines and restyle them to his own exacting taste.

Intensely practical, Loewy likes beauty for its own sake but always combines it with the functional. While styling the Pennsylvania Railroad’s sleek new locomotives, Loewy took a long ride in the cab of a locomotive. When he got back, he had one recommendation that led all the rest: he suggested a toilet.

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