Herman Miller’s Rebrand Looks Back to Move Ahead, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

Image © Order Design / Herman Miller, 2024

The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now

Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here

Herman Miller’s Rebrand Looks Back to Move Ahead

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an adage for the ages—and one the innovators at Herman Miller have long kept in their back pocket. Besides staying faithful to trusty staples of midcentury office design like the enduringly popular Aeron Chair, the trailblazing furniture brand has only tweaked its brand identity five times in its 100-year history. So as its centennial anniversary loomed, and a major merger with Knoll was behind them, an overhaul was in order. “The last brand identity served Herman Miller well for 25 years, but that system predated many of the touchpoints we now have with the Herman Miller customer,” Kelsey Keith, brand creative director, tells It’s Nice That. “What we needed was an evolution of the brand, and a complete design system, one that could flex from a mobile phone screen to a physical space and every in between.”

The brand enlisted Brooklyn design agency Order for the job, which became an exercise in subtlety. Irving Harper’s iconic M-shaped logo, which he famously designed in less than an hour, remains intact. But the brand was eager to refresh its longtime typeface, FF Meta, designed by type titan Erik Spiekermann as the “antithesis of Helvetica.” That ubiquitous typeface evokes the period when Herman Miller came into itself after experimental moments in the brand’s infancy. Avoiding a full step backward, Order adopted the Helvetica-adjacent Söhne from Klim Type Foundry as an homage to this era, when “their most iconic pieces truly become solidified into the modernist canon,” partner Jesse Reed explains. Bright, expressive colors complement the change and set an optimistic tone to kick off the next century. —Ryan Waddoups

Image courtesy of +POOL

New York City’s long-awaited self-filtering pool will float in the East River this summer.

After years of planning and successful water filtration tests, the +POOL—a self-cleaning swimming pool that floats in New York City’s East River—is finally set to become a reality. Funded by a $16 million investment from the city and state, the pool will not only offer a refreshing dip in the newly cleaned river but also serve as an aquatic filter, purifying millions of gallons of water daily. With construction slated to begin this summer and completion by next year, the +POOL aims to provide safe, accessible public swimming for all New Yorkers and contribute to their aquatic safety education. The funding marks the largest statewide investment in swimming since the New Deal. 

France’s cultural minister halts the demolition of Marie Curie’s former Paris laboratory. 

After a last-minute intervention, France’s culture minister Rima Abdul Malak has halted the demolition of Marie Curie’s former laboratory at the Pavillon des Sources in the grounds of the Curie Institute in Paris. Critics, including heritage groups, decried the demolition plans as disrespectful to the Nobel Prize–winning scientist’s legacy, while multiple scientists—including Curie’s great-grandson—argued for a modern cancer research center replacing the “radioactive and useless” building. “No one can even get close to it,” Raphael Rodriguez, a researcher from the Curie Institute, tells The Art Newspaper. “What do we want, to protect a polluted useless building or to treat people suffering from cancer?”

Image courtesy of Nike

Nike’s latest collection is putting aside sportswear for new experiments in workwear. 

Nike has officially entered the workwear arena with a new Spring/Summer 2024 collection. The line blends the brand’s signature sportswear aesthetic with functional features and durable materials. Expect breathable jackets, comfortable pants with reinforced knees, and versatile accessories like tool belts and pouches, all infused with Nike’s sleek design sensibilities. This marks a strategic move for Nike, expanding its reach beyond the gym and onto the job site.

Following a planning snafu, MSG Sphere’s creators scrap plans for a project in London.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment has scrapped its flashy MSG Sphere music venue planned for London, accusing the planning process of becoming a political pawn. The project faced opposition from London mayor Sadiq Khan and residents, and ultimately fell victim to what MSG calls a “bogus last-minute report.” Undeterred, MSG is setting its sights on what it calls “forward-thinking cities” around the world, with a potential K-pop-focused sphere in South Korea already on the horizon. The London sphere would have been the second to be built following the MSG Sphere Las Vegas that opened this past year with artworks by Refik Anadol

Kering backs Italian biomaterials startup Mogu, creator of mushroom-derived leathers. 

Despite a tough year for material innovation, luxury giant Kering is betting on Italian biomaterial startup Mogu, joining its €11 million ($12 million) funding round and previously featuring its mushroom leather in a Balenciaga coat. Mogu, soon to be rebranded as Sqim following the investment, will use the funding to build a demo plant and increase research and development for its mycelium-based products, aiming to carve out a sustainable niche in the fashion industry.

Today’s attractive distractions:

An Instagram-famous abandoned boat may disappear from the California coast.

Weeks after his ouster from Congress, George Santos’s online celebrity is fading.

New images reveal Neptune and Uranus share a similar shade of greenish blue.

Some scientists call for scrapping species names that honor objectionable people. 


All Stories