EquipmentNewsRailToday's PickupTrucking

Today’s Pickup: Blade Runner futurist designer Syd Mead conceptualized Volvo trucks

Good day,

For those in the trucking industry, if you know the name Syd Mead it is likely that you are either a fan of Blade Runner or another of the movies that bear his signature works, or you worked at Volvo Trucks.

Mead, now 85, is an “American industrial designer and neofuturistic concept artist.” His most famous work is Blade Runner, but his futuristic designs can be found in movies such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Tron; 2010; Aliens; Timecop; and Mission Impossible II.

It turns out, Mead is also famous around the Volvo Truck offices in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Liam Keating, a graphic designer at Volvo, told the story on his blog Art Station.

“In my first weeks at Volvo Product Design, I found myself in a meeting room staring at some pictures on the wall. A colleague asked ‘Can you guess who drew those?,’ I replied that although it could not be the case they looked like something Syd Mead would have draw,” Keating wrote.

Keating was right. Mead had, at some point, worked for Volvo. Keating’s post doesn’t note when that was, but the pictures certainly have Mead’s signature on them. After receiving permission, Keating was able to share the images hanging on the walls of Volvo’s Gothenburg’s offices.

The full selection of images are available on Keating’s site:

Did you know?

The Colorado Department of Transportation says one lane of alternating traffic is again moving along State Road 145 between Cortex and Telluride. The road was closed over the weekend after a boulder weighing an estimated 2.3 million pounds crashed onto the road from the mountainside. The state has not given a timeline for full opening of the road.


“The action today flies in the face of so-called conservative values and states’ rights. The federal government is refusing to protect the public and at the same time is prohibiting states from doing so by posting this federal notice.”

-John Risch, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers national legislative director, on the Federal Railroad Administration’s decision to scrap a two-person train crew proposal.

In other news:

P.A.M. to test hybrid-electric tractor in Northeast

P.A.M. Transportation plans to shift testing of a hybrid-electric tractor from Peterbilt to the Northeast to gauge its fuel economy. (Northwest Arkansas Business Journal)

Trucker loses leg to frostbite, sues company

A West Virginia truck driver has sued his employer after he says he lost part of his leg when his company told him to sleep in his cab with an improperly working heater to wait for a next-day delivery. (Morning Journal)

Driver hears voices in his truck, calls police

A truck driver in Wisconsin was arrested and faces multiple drug charges after he called 911 to report voices coming from the walls of his cab. (CDL Life)

UK port operator acquires port freight company

Peel Ports Group, which operates as several UK ports, has acquired Quality Freight, which provides chartering and port services in Cheshire, England. (Afloat)

Transcontinental railroad did more than just connect East to West

The transcontinental railroad was designed to connect people in the East to those in the West, but it did so much more than that, bringing together a country. (New York Times)

Final Thoughts

The revelation that conceptual images of Volvo trucks drawn by famed futurist artist Syd Mead exist is proof that art knows no bounds, and while your trucking company may not have any Syd Mead artwork hanging on its walls, sometimes it worth exploring just what is inside the four walls of the office. You never know what treasures have been staring you in the face the entire time.

Hammer down everyone!

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at