Syd Mead, visual futurist extraordinaire, is the 2017 recipient of the EyesOn Design Lifetime Design Achievement Award, given annually by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO). To commemorate the event, Mead revealed a new work of art created specifically for the 30th annual EyesOn Design Automotive Design Exhibition, which takes place each Father’s Day at the former Edsel and Eleanor Ford mansion in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.
The poster, unveiled at a ceremony at John Varvatos in downtown Detroit, bears resemblance to many of the works that Syd created for US Steel, before he went on to feature films like Blade Runner and Tron. Mead’s work has inspired generations of designers, some of which have followed in his footsteps.
Mead attributes success in an astonishing range of creative activities to the premise that imagination — the idea — supersedes technique. “There are more people in the world who make things than there are people who think of things to make,” he says.
Mead began his career in Ford Motor Co’s Advanced Styling Studio but soon went to work for other clients, including Celanese, Allis Chalmers and Phillips Electronics. He quickly became known for his futuristic designs ranging from solar-powered unicycles to interplanetary spacecraft.
The EyesOn Design Award is unique in that voting is limited to automotive designers who have previously won the award. The voting panel for 2017 included Chris Bangle, Wayne Cherry, Willie G. Davidson, Walter de Silva, Patrick le Quement, Tom Gale, Bob Lutz, Shiro Nakamura, Chuck Pelly, Steward Reed, Peter Schreyer and Jack Telnack.
During the EyesOn Design Awards at the NAIAS in Detroit last month, the ‘Catalyst Award’ was given (posthumously) to John Reinhart, who had been chief designer at Packard and later at the Ford Design Center. Mead named Reinhart as having the most significant impact on his design career.
Learn more and reserve tickets for the Automotive Design Exhibition June gala at the EyesOn Design website.
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