Stories, True and Otherwise

Stories, True and Otherwise

MID MOD MAD MEN: A LOOK AT VINTAGE ADVERTISING

Modern in Denver | Fall 2015

Herman Miller makes furniture. In fact, the Michigan-based company has produced some of the most recognizable furniture in the world, dating back to the early 20th century. But the Herman Miller legacy extends well beyond the bounds of tables or lounge chairs. It’s also responsible for some truly groundbreaking advertising, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s. 

It was perhaps the single greatest insight of Herman Miller founder D.J. De Pree to hire multifaceted designers—people with a talent for more than just furniture making. When George Nelson was named design director in 1947, it was the first in a series of shrewd personnel decisions whose effects still reverberate. Nelson would soon recommend the hiring of Charles and Ray Eames, and later, all three would voice support for the hiring of Alexander Girard. And while this murderer’s row of design legends would each contribute his or her share of enduring design to the Herman Miller brand, responsibilities didn’t end there.

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