When our audiences read a piece of writing produced by Herman Miller, we want them to get a sense of our personality—spirited, sophisticated, and human. Our guidelines for the Herman Miller brand voice ensure a uniform expression of who we are, what we do, and what we offer our customers.
How We Sound
Herman Miller was an actual person—founder D.J. De Pree’s father-in-law. De Pree named the company after him because he was a beloved and influential member of his community. Writing with spirit, sophistication, and humanity will ensure that Herman Miller is influential and beloved as well.
Spirited (not superficial)
We strip away jargon and expose the spirit of an object or idea by rendering it with color, precision, and personality.
Sophisticated (not slick)
A simple expression of complex ideas. Research and design thinking underlies all we do, and we bring their value to light through intelligent yet direct language.
Human (not coddling)
Because we write for people, our writing must capture the qualities that make us human— intelligence, humor, empathy, hope, and desire.
What Shapes Our Writing
Below are the five main tensions that define great writing from Herman Miller. Just as, over the years, the designers we’ve partnered with have added warmth and humanity to the clarity and logic of modernism, the Herman Miller brand voice balances authority with friendliness, industry knowledge with consumer savvy, and business with pleasure. Our tone shifts where appropriate, but our voice never strays far from this state of equilibrium.
We Serve the Business...But We Write for People
Our copy sounds like it was written by a person—not by a robot or a committee.
We Are a Global Design Leader...But We Have Midwestern Roots
This keeps our writing plainspoken and humble.
We Solve Problems...But We Know a Good Phrase Isn't Always the Solution
We don't say what we can show, and we never say something just for the sake of saying it.
We Value Originality...But Only if It's Authentic
This tempers our impulse to overstate or oversell even our most original ideas.
We View Our History as an Asset...But We Don't Dwell in the Past
Our strong foundation presents an opportunity to build something new.
Playful and just a bit irreverent, “the Wink” is a critical attribute of Herman Miller communications. Think of it as an inside joke that everyone gets. It could be a charming little aside, a knowing gesture, or just the right unexpected detail or play on words. It’s subtle, never flashy. Inclusive, never exclusive. It’s part of how we show up as spirited, human, and so much more than a faceless corporation trying to deliver a key message. A little goes a long way, though. Deploy “the Wink” with restraint and you will too.
Chosen for Impact
We value economy of words, but we also have a broad vocabulary. We’re purposeful about color of meaning and carefully choose words that hint at a quality of the brand while performing their role in a sentence.
The power of words in combination can sometimes be greater than the sum of their parts. By juxtaposing complementary or contrasting words, you can often evoke emotion or prompt thought.
Our audience is literate, plugged in, and interested in many things, not just Herman Miller design. When writing for us, pull in specific references from science, mythology, or history. The specificity of these references illuminates our understanding of the general human condition.
We might see more Netflix than newspapers and smoothies than smoking, but Tandem Sling Seating remains the best designed place to wait out that delay at the airport.
—Facebook Post, 2018
“Pleased to Meeting You”, WHY Magazine
You may have heard the saying, “a camel is a horse designed by a committee.” But when you think about it, the camel marvelous beast, able to traverse miles of desert sand without hydration or sunglasses. Similarly, committed crews of professionals working together, pushing each other to think bigger and bolder, can execute exponentially amazing things. And where do these dream teams assemble? In meetings.
Done well, meetings are vehicles for big breakthroughs, communal vibes, and potent collaboration. Done badly, they feel like death by a thousand paper cuts, especially when you’re shuttling from one agenda-free, tech-challenged, leaderless confab to the next (and it’s only 2:30!!). We think meetings get a bad rap, not because people should stop getting together to work things through, but because folk aren’t making them count. If each calendar invite is one more reminder that to meet is murder, consider taking a few of our tips to get the most out of working together.
Ward Bennett Instagram Post
Ward Bennett was never one to seek elegance without utility—or vice versa. Even this photo of him cozying up to a goat, which at first glance might seem playfully non-sequitur, was entirely purposeful. The image was captured to promote a mohair textile collection Bennett designed (the goat is an Angora, the breed that produces mohair). Follow the link in our bio to read more about Bennett’s purposeful life and the #wardbennett designs Geiger produces today.
Birsel + Seck Designer Biography
When Ayse Birsel was asked to design a concept car interior for French automobile manufacturer Renault in 2002, she requested that the company set her up with a mentor. They sent her Bibi Seck and said, “You’re going to love him.” To Seck of Birsel, of course, they said, “You’re going to love her.”
“We did as we were told,” Birsel says. “We met, we started working together, we fell in love.” Seck moved from Paris to New York City, where the two became partners “in life and in work.” Together they formed their design and innovation studio, Birsel + Seck, swiftly developed a robust client roster, and had their “best product”—their kids.
Salone Instagram Post
Get ready for ample gelato, a delicious Aperol Spritz (or two), and gorgeous furniture around every charming corner. Milan Design Week is upon us, and this year we’re joining Herman Miller in celebration of the nearly endless design possibilities of the Herman Miller Group’s family of brands.
“Modern Etiquette for Modern Workers”, WHY Book
Today’s office is much more than a staid place of process-driven business; it’s a thriving ecosystem of collaboration and cooperation, where ingenuity, big ideas, and fair trade coffee percolate freely. But as our workspaces progress, so too must out approach to living in them. The benefits of a more fluid and flexible office—better light, views, and access to colleagues, for example—are quickly undone by less than professional deportment and awkward distractions. So whether you work at a table or bench, or in a workstation or private office, we believe that the first order of business is to get your own business in good order. Read on for our take on common courtesy and collective cleanliness that will make the most of your personal work environment.
“Six Eames Designs You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know”, WHY Magazine
The Intermediate Chair from 1968 is similar to the 3473 Sofa, in that its DNA is aligned with a classic design that preceded it—the Eames Executive Chair. Comfortable without feeling stuffy, this chair is just as solid as its more imposing forebears, but the vibe isn’t as sedentary. The open lower back and the tilt swivel mechanism on the pedestal base reinforce the idea that even though you’re sitting, you’re still on the move. Back in the day, with the Intermediate Chair under you and a pack of Pall Malls at your side, you could knock out reports for eight hours straight. Designed for the commercial office market, it was a solid chair, but the introduction of the popular Soft Pad Chair led to it being discontinued in 1973. A true nod to its importance: the Intermediate was the chair that Charles used at his personal desk.
“Chain Reaction”, WHY Magazine
Anyone who has walked through an airport terminal has undoubtedly spotted a benighted traveler sitting on the floor simply to charge their phone. Herman Miller’s own research shows that 88% of available airport outlets go unused because of poor placement. Today, Herman Miller and the Eames Office are carrying on in the spirit of Eamesian evolution by revising Tandem Sling Seating to offer charging stations placed beneath the seats.
“Update Available”, Living Office Magazine
Click on a link embedded in a calendar invitation, and a series of windows opens to reveal a cadre of global colleagues ready to tackle the work ahead, in stunning 1080p resolution with 24-bit audio. Technology—it’s amazing! Spend half an hour entering and reentering a 10-digit code into the room’s videoconferencing equipment before giving up and cobbling together a telephone call. Technology—what a farce!
“At Home With Herman Miller” Retail Catalog
Home is where you always return—a natural expression of who you are, the way you live, and how you entertain those you love. It is a vessel of your experiences, shifting as life changes and furniture rearranges. Herman Miller’s designs are based and realized in those same beliefs. For more than 100 years, Herman Miller has upheld the values of authored modern design—quality, authenticity, and personalization—by working with prolific designers, from George Nelson to Charles and Ray Eames to Michael Anastassiades.
Here’s the main thing we want you to know about us: We create beautiful and functional furnishings designed to make your experiences at home, at work, and out in the world richer and more meaningful. Our story isn’t much more complicated than that.