George Nelson on creating a Design-Driven Company. Lessons learned from D.J. DePree of Herman Miller: Honesty. Quality. Respect. Be the Best.
Aug 17, 2012 thinking design
In 1984, Herman Miller asked George Nelson to write an essay on the nature of his design relationship with Herman Miller. The link below will take you to Fast Company’s site where there is an edited version the result. Nelson reflects on unfaltering trust the company’s owner, D.J. DePree, had in his designers (Charles and Ray Eames, etc), which resulted not only in superior products but a never-before-used marketing tactic.
From Fast Company:
“To describe this (D.J. DePree’s) moral base is almost impossible, for it all comes out as shopworn truisms: honesty is the best policy; the customer is entitled to the very best quality you can produce; the workers are entitled to respect and fair compensation; the designs have to be the best that can be created whether they conform with prevailing fashions or not. Pious platitudes–until you try to put them into action.
What D.J. did to his designers was instill in them his belief that what they were doing was important. Because it was important, he trusted them without reservations of any kind. I remember a scrap of a conversation with Charles Eames at his then-new house in Pacific Palisades. “Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic,” he remarked, “because I am suddenly wondering if that last stuff we sent to Zeeland was good enough. I don’t think I could take if we failed D.J.’s trust, and let him down. Does it ever worry you?”
Yes, it worried me. How could it not? Total trust is a rare privilege, but also a heavy burden. One’s integrity is at stake.”Full article: 1 | The Legendary George Nelson On Creating A Design-Driven Company | Co.Design: business + innovation + design