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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Part 3: Herman Miller WHY

This is my third post sharing with you the Herman Miller WHY series.

Irving Harper: The Mediums Beyond the Message 

In this segment of the Herman Miller WHY series, Amber Bravo examines Irving Harper's two-decade stint as design director of the George Nelson Office and the impact his print design had on client Herman Miller.

According to Bravo, "...the Swiss magazine Graphis noted in a 1953 survey of his print work for the Nelson Office, it’s an approach not dissimilar to that of an architect. 'The page on which to print is regarded as a site on which to build…. Pictorial material, often broken into fragments, is organized by asymmetrical harmonies.' From his start working with Nelson in 1947 through his tenure as design director at the office until 1963, Harper brought a visual coherence and energy to everything he created—from furniture, to ads, to clocks—but it's in the printed collateral that his approach to design as a total experience is most easily gleaned. Be it evoking three-dimensional spatial gestures into a two-dimensional magazine spread, for example, or turning a functional object like a clock into a graphic abstraction, or giving a simple typographic treatment the textural quality of a swath of fabric, everything he designs has a deeper sense of dimension."


Magazine ad, 1960
hermanmiller.com

Magazine ads, 1952 (left) and 1960 (right)
hermanmiller.com

Magazine ad for Interiors, 1952
hermanmiller.com

Magazine ad for Interiors: 1949 (left) and magazine ad: "Herman Miller Collection," 1952
hermanmiller.com

Magazine ad, 1948
hermanmiller.com

Magazine ad, 1949
hermanmiller.com

Irving Harper's logo for Herman Miller, 1947
hermanmiller.com

You can read the entire piece at the Herman Miller site.

10 comments:

  1. Very cool, they remind of Olivetti Typewriter ads.

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    1. Your comment prompted me to look at some Olivetti ads and identify some of the designers. You've probably seen this site, which I found interesting:

      http://designapplause.com/2009/olivetti-manual-typewriter/5164/

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  2. Just love those graphics! ...

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    1. Aren't they remarkable? Irving Harper is an incredibly talented man.

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  3. I love them Dana!
    The use of contrast is underrated I think in contemporary graphics, I shall teach it more!
    Thanks xx

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    1. I think the use of high contrast is what keeps these designs looking edgy and modern.

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  4. I would like to print them and frame! This will be a great collection for my wall near the desk! Thanks for sharing xx

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    1. A wall of Herman Miller ads would be really cool. If you do it, show us a photo!

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  5. Ok, I'm officially in love with Irving Harper!I LOVE the ads, especially the red, black and grey ones. So strange about your header! I'm afraid I'm not of much help in that department.... I can design buildings virtually, but when it comes to stuff like this, I always feel a panic coming... I hope it works out!

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    1. I'm in love with him too. Owning one of his paper sculptures would be the ultimate treasure. Just seeing them in person would be amazing.

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