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Press Release

Seventy-five Years Old an

In 1929 Henry Dreyfuss founded the design firm now known as Henry Dreyfuss Associates (HDA). The firm made an impact on American life by aiding in the establishment of the fields of industrial design and human factors. Many of the firms' designs, such as Ma Bell's Princess line phone are classics. The firm continues in the tradition of excellence imbued by Henry Dreyfuss.

Ann Arbor, MI July 12, 2004 -- Henry Dreyfuss Associates (HDA) has been in the consultant design business since 1929 when Henry Dreyfuss took his vision into the boardrooms of corporate America. Henry's vision changed the way Americans look at products, sat in them, felt them, held them and manipulated them. Most Industrial Designers know Henry Dreyfuss as one of the founding fathers of the fields of Industrial Design and Human Factors. Yet few Americans know of the impact that this 75-year-old design firm has had on their way of life.

William Crookes, President of HDA, states: "The rich history of this firm creates an atmosphere of creativity and a legacy of pride. Henry's interest in Human Factors created a respect for products that fit the user. Thanks to Henry and HDA, products no longer are human torture devices. Every design we create has a touch of Henry's magic because we still have the same respect for the end user."

Remember hand-crank telephones? No, Henry Dreyfuss didn't design them, but, in 1930, he did design the first handset and rotary style phone, the familiar black shape was a part of American households for 12 years. HDA went on to design the Trimline (Princess line) phones. Trimline phones were added to the permanent collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in 1964. Chances are your office might use AT&T's Merlin system, a Henry Dreyfuss Associates design.

In 1967, HDA published the first of a series of Human Factors books and reference tools that remain standards in the industry. Their focus is the measurements of man and woman. The gathering and publishing of this information transformed the way in which design is approached. Today, designers fit the machine to the man. No longer do we suffer in uncomfortable seats, reach for a control or push a button that is improperly located. HDA had a major impact in creating this change.

Like retro? Designed by Dreyfuss in 1939, Westclock "Big Ben" clock's basic style is back on the market today. Remember the round Honeywell thermostat, some are still in use, designed by HDA. Like John Deere equipment? John Deere has been a HDA client since 1937. More than likely, you've used, sat in, touched, or looked at something that has been designed by HDA. To be in business for 75 years, you have to do something right and to do it right consistently.

In Henry's time, drawings were done on linen or vellum with pencil or ink, today HDA's 3-D software tool kit contains: Alias, ProE, CATIA, ICEM Surf, Unigraphics and Transom Jack. HDA uses IGES as universal translation software and has a FTP site for transfer of large files. Of course, the 2-D software includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Macromedia, Power Point, Word, Excel, etc. Pencils, sketchpads, rulers, and good, hard, intense thought is also an integral part of the mix!

HDA has recently moved to Ann Arbor, MI, where the same dedication to excellence that began in 1929 continues. The design approach, whether industrial, graphic, interface, environmental, or web, carries the same philosophy that Henry Dreyfuss instilled in his firm 75 years ago. As Henry said, "If the point of contact between the product and the people becomes a point of friction, then the industrial designer has failed. If, on the other hand, people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient, or just plain happier, the designer has succeeded."   

Henry Dreyfuss Associates is a full service consultant design firm. The consultancy has served a variety of clients in the consumer, medical, telecommunications, aviation, agricultural and industrial product sectors. The proof of HDA's success as designers is found in finished products that equally address the issues of appearance, production, human factors, safety, environment, performance and market plans.

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