Herman Miller and “The Purpose of Design”

The Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, TN has recently opened a new exhibit, Good Design: Stories from Herman MillerInspired by the book “Herman Miller: The Purpose of Design” by John R. Berry, the focus of the exhibition is the process and design behind the creation of a product rather than the end result itself.  This is truly a thought provoking show.

The introduction of the book has a wonderful perspective on design.  Here is a quote…

“Design is a process, not a formula.  It follows a logic but is open to those unexpected discoveries that come from experimentation and from making connections between seemingly disconnected ideas.

Design is a noun, a verb, and a problem-solving process.  It is art with a purpose.  In order to produce solutions, design requires a clear understanding of the conditions, constraints, and opportunities of a particular situation.  Good design does not happen in a vacuum.  A good designer is able to recognize a need, identify the relevant limitations, and devise a solution.

The word design evokes a wide range of images and meanings.  The term is applied to objects and processes, brands and environments, critical reviews and experiences – all of which can be good or bad.  Design can be elitist or egalitarian, a profession, and a result.  Any way you look at it, design in some way affects everyone….

…Common to all design professions is the desire to make something better.”

If you are in the Chattanooga area between January 14th-March 4th, 2012, make sure to visit the show.