Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Syd Mead Art for U.S. Steel (1960s)

Professor Michael Stoll has posted an amazing collection of promotional art Syd Mead did for U.S. Steel.

Prof. Stoll posted the Syd Mead images to the (Boing Boing Gadgets/Paleo-Future Blog) Flickr Group, In the Year 2000. The entire set of images can be found in the Portfolio of Probabilities photoset.

One thing that is interestingly absent from the illustrations is any clear indication of a flying car.

Brian Horrigan, co-author of Yesterday's Tomorrows was kind enough to recently lend me a 1961 U.S. Steel book titled Innovations, which contains similar work by Syd Mead. Stay tuned for more on that.

See also:
The Future World of Transportation
Syd Mead
Rhapsody of Steel (1959)
Rhapsody of Steel Film (1959)


Anonymous said...

Matt, I'm ripping my hair out trying to find some illustrations of futuristic cities that were done in the late 1970s either for Smithsonian magazine, or for National Geographic.

They had buildings with lots of blue-green curved glass and also large expanses of curved white surfaces. Sort of like aviator glasses and pith helmets.

Did you see those ever?

Anonymous said...

The fourth painting from the top, look carefully at the feet, those are similar to the ATAT from 'The EMpire strikes back' no ?

Arkonbey said...


1) Syd Mead could PAINT! There has never been a futurist illustrator like him before or since

2) in the camping image, I love the lake's guardrails...

Anonymous said...

Yeah the lake edging in the "wilderness" is great. Also nice to see that cutoff jeans shorts will make a comeback in the future.

These illustrations definitely must have influenced some sci-fi creators; not only is the winter scene strikingly similar to "Star Wars" walkers, but the urban vehicles are similar to the "Ark II" TV show of the 70s.

artbot said...

Mead's work goes far beyond "influencing some sci-fi creators". He was often hired by them to articulate their visions (Blade Runner, Tron, Short Circuit, Star Trek, to name a few) and can rightfully be considered the single greatest sci-fi design talent of the last 30 years. The man is a national design treasure. I have the honor of having attended the same college as Mead, and even had a couple of the same teachers (though my work is nowhere near the quality or volume of his).

Still, I like a guy who answers his own phone. Once, I ordered some books from his publishing company and Syd himself took my order. We had a nice chat and he personalized my books for me. One said, "To Richard - The Future IS Fabulous!" And so it has been.

Arkonbey said...

Artbot: You got to talk to the man himself; how cool is that?

Ms. Bizarro said...

Yes! The first thing I thought of was AT-ATs on Hoth!

Anonymous said...

I have a childhood memory of a National Geographic magazine that depicted a futuristic city/airport with cars on a highway going to and from them. It may or may not have been Syd Mead.

The magazine would have to be 1960s or early 1970s at the very latest, and probably not even the latter.

Have not been able to find that art since and would really love to.

Does anyone know/remember what I am talking about and what issue that art might have been in?