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Recently, I talked to a group of (visual) artists: painters, photographers, sculptors and encaustic artists. When I introduced them to Raymond Loewy (1893-1986), the godfather of all industrial and graphic designers, to my surprise only one artist was familiar with the name Raymond Loewy.

However, when I told them that he designed the Studebaker Starliner, their mouths fell open from astonishment. Yes, they all knew the famous car but didn't know the name of its designer. The surprise grew even bigger when I mentioned that Raymond Loewy also designed the Shell logo. Of course, they were familiar with this emblem since they had seen it on all the highways and byways...

But the most successful of Loewy's designs is, by all means, the Coca-Cola logo. It is perhaps the most reproduced logo of all times. We have seen it on bottles, cans, packaging, trucks, billboards, print advertising and commercials. If we would see it five times a day, we would encounter it almost two thousand times a year. In ten years, that would be twenty thousand times; in fifty years, a hundred thousand times... Yes, of course, everybody knew the Coca-Cola logo.

So now came the test. I handed each artist a sheet of paper and a marker, and asked them to draw the 'oh-so-familiar' Coca-Cola logo. Surprisingly, none of them was able to draw a decent representation of Raymond Loewy's famous creation. I do understand that no advertising agency would pay a graphic designer to hand-copy a Coca-Cola logo. For that, we have copiers and computers. But the point was not to reproduce a logo, but to test how much we pay attention to our environment, considering that I was talking to visual artists, not musicians or ballet dancers.

We can all see, but do we really look? To close, I would like to quote Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, who once said that 'one should be able to notice an eagle in the sky and at the same time a penny on the ground.' Fabulous!