OUTSIDE OF GM
On entering Mr. Earl's unique independent design firm across the street from the GM Tech Center, people could see a client roster board, directly below, reading like a "who's who" of American industry of the 1950s. Manufacturers who were giants in their particular fields turned to Harley Earl to design some of their most important products...products of immense diversity.
The "Net Income" monetary figures, featured below, summarize client fees of this car architect's business concern outside his responsibilities overseeing the design of all the industrialized transportation products for the largest company in the world. "Mr. E." as some called him in his day, had his independent design firm across the street from the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan which had a staff of less than seventy five employees. But don't be confused by its small size or the fact it didn't make as much money each year as some of the other large industrial designers of the era. The most important design story, in dollars (numbers and finance) was the one taking place back across the street, styling GM's products which includes but is not limited to product design, color studio, exhibit design, interior design, packaging design, logo design, etc.
The main reason Mr. Earl was so influential had to do with the fact he was the American auto industry's first super star car designer who blazed a trail for many others to follow in his footsteps. One area in particular is the fact he founded and/or is directly responsible for creating the position of "vice president of Design" that exists today at every major global auto maker.
1961 DETROIT NEWS newspaper story, below, chronicles another unique design/engineering firm Mr. Earl established:
Read info below to better understand why Harley Earl and Walter B. Ford merged their separate design firms into one in 1964. Ford & Earl Design stayed in business in the suburbs of Troy, Michigan until 2009.
Quoting Shakespeare and somehow relating it to quality car design precepts (1955 article by Earl for GENTRY magazine below) details the value of why any designer today, utilizing aesthetics, should always keep an open-mind and never become complacent. Naturally, Harley Earl applied his design philosophy to other areas beside Automobile Styling, a.k.a., Car Design.
US Rubber Co., Convair Division of General Dynamics, Fairchild Engine and
Airplane Company, Westinghouse, Bissell, Argus Camera—Division of Sylvania,
3M, Michigan Bell, Shwayder Bros. Incorporated, General Foods, Briggs
Manufacturing Co., Clark Equipment Co., Zippo, Stouffers Restaurants, Strohs
Brewery, Sun Rubber, Libby Owens Ford, Corn Products, Evans Products Co., Lyon,
Inc., Nabisco, Ohio Rubber, Owens Corning Fiberglass Co., Parker Pen Co., Tappan
Stove Co., Hamilton Beach Co., Simoniz, Eastern Airlines, Wear-Ever Aluminum,