Steve Frykholm has worked for Herman Miller, the Zeeland, Michigan based furniture manufacturer, for four decades. Herman Miller has often led all furniture companies in Fortune's “World’s Most Admired Companies” survey the last 25 years, and has frequently been included among the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America. Frykholm straddled the company’s transition from a small, family-owned business with a reputation for innovation and experimental design, to an international business with annual revenues of $1.3 billion.
When Frykholm arrived with an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Herman Miller’s founder DJ De Pree and designers Charles and Ray Eames were still actively involved in the company, with De Pree’s sons running the firm. As Frykholm assumed more responsibility, Herman Miller grew in stature and size, known not only for high-end classics of the Eames, Alexander Girard and George Nelson era, but for ubiquitous symbols of the corporate office interior.
Clark Malcolm, a long-time collaborator with Frykholm and a writer/editor at Herman Miller for more than 20 years, sums up his colleague as “one of the last survivors from the world of great graphic thinking in the 1970s and ’80s. For me, he epitomizes all that is magical and delightful in graphic design, from the process to the product. As someone once said about Charles Eames, when you’re around Steve Frykholm, he’s never teaching, but you’re always learning.”
In 2010, he received an AIGA Medal, recognizing him for establishing the highest standards of corporate design through his work shaping the visual identity and sensibility of the American design innovation company.