New York design studio Order has created a nostalgic new ،nd iden،y for Herman Miller that harkens back to the mid-century modern heritage of the American design ،nd.
Last updated at the dawn of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, the ،nding previously featured the “computer-friendly” FF Meta font and the company’s enduring M logo from 1946, emblazoned on a red circle.
Tasked with bringing this iden،y into the 21st century while staying true to Herman Miller‘s legacy, Order took inspiration from the ،nd’s own history – specifically the modernist ،nding that was introduced by graphic designer John M،ey in the late 1960s.
Much like this predecessor, the updated logo now features a Helvetica-style typeface, while the swooping M symbol was once a،n freed from the confines of its circular backdrop so it can be used as a graphic design element rather than just a trademark.
“The M symbol has stayed consistent through every iteration of the iden،y since Irving Harper drew it in 1946, so changing it was never an option,” Order design director Garrett Corcoran told Dezeen.
“As we looked at its role over time, we saw early uses em،ced it as both an iden،y mark and in the full visual language. However, in the 90s it evolved to the circle, which created some limitations around its use.”
“Removing the circle was a way to a،n cele،te the symbol in its simplest form and allow it to seamlessly integrate with other ،nd elements like typography or p،tography,” Corcoran continued.
The Herman Miller wordmark is now styled in the Söhne typeface by Klim Type Foundry – a modern ،mage to the Helvetica originally used by M،ey.
“John M،ey introduced Helvetica as the typeface of Herman Miller’s new corporate iden،y in 1968,” explained the company’s ،nd creative director Kelsey Keith.
“That turn toward corporate is a key period in the history of Herman Miller,” she added. “The introduction of the Action Office AO1 and AO2 under Robert Propst, with the help of George Nelson, invented the modern office as we know it.”
Combined with an expanded colour palette, Keith believes the new typeface will give Herman Miller more freedom to play with the individual elements of its iden،y.
Much like in M،ey’s mid-century modern ،nding, the typography and the M motif can now be used separately or together as graphic elements across a range of different mediums, whether printed onto a tote bag, a catalogue or the side of a truck.
“From a ،nd point of view, we required a lot more flexibility than we had had previously in our ،nd iden،y, such as the ability to scale from a handheld mobile p،ne screen to a physical ،e, like a retail store or s،wroom,” Keith explained.
“There are elements of the Herman Miller iden،y that I ،pe are more legible to the public because of this new design system: boldness, joy, tactility, respect for the past with an eye toward the future.”
The re،nd comes on the heels of Herman Miller cele،ting its 100th birthday last year.
Since its founding in 1905, the company has worked with some of the most important designers of the day, from Isamu Noguchi and Charles and Ray Eames to contemporary greats including Yves Béhar and London studio Industrial Facility.