Harrison demonstrated this design philosophy even before joining Sears. In 1958, he retooled the 3D View-Master, making the photographic gadget simple enough enough for a child to operate. As is often the case, designing for users of various abilities also improved the product. Harrison’s revamped Model F View-Master became an instant sensation and was ultimately marketed as toy. It also served as the veritable template for Google Cardboard and other modern virtual-reality devices.

Beyond improving the tools of domestic life, Harrison is a beacon for many young designers. After retiring from Sears in 1993, he taught at design schools around Chicago. “His contributions to design and to the huge cadre of designers that he influenced over 60 years as a designer and educator, by far, is his greatest achievement,” writes Trimmingham, who was Harrison’s student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In his 2005 monograph, Harrison left a sobering note for designers seeking for purpose. “Your audience is neither history nor fame but a couple who worked hard to buy their first home on a quiet street and would love just one more hour of sleep in the morning, even on trash days.”

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