Herman Miller – Living Office

Herman Miller – Living Office

by Daniel Carlsten

I came across these illustrations by Daniel Carlsten (who is also a damn good designer) for furniture manufacturer Herman Miller back in 2013. I got in touch with Daniel to find out more about them and he was nice enough write down some details on the project.

“Herman Miller reached out to me back in 2013 to commission a few test illustrations for a new project they were working on.” says Daniel Carlsten. “Little did I know this would be a huge project, resulting in hundreds of illustrations, covering their website, catalogues and entire walls in their head office and in showrooms across the world.”

“After having made a few tests and sketches and visual interpretations of various headlines they were working on, the actual brief was sent to me, and I panicked at the magnitude of the project. I had not worked as a commercial illustrator before and felt very insecure as to whether I was going to be able to deliver everything they wanted. In cases where I had made illustrations before, it had been either because I needed an image in a low budget project I was art directing myself, or it had been one off illustrations for magazines. So how did they find me? Well, one of the magazines was Dwell Magazine. As it happens, a couple of people who were working at Dwell started working at Herman Miller, and in developing Living Office, they came to think of me.”

“Herman Miller were very persistent in wanting me to do the imagery, and as I found them them being very kind, inspiring, humble, interested and positive, I gave it a shot. I have not regretted it since.

For the past 5 years Herman Miller and I have worked on building an expanding universe of characters, props and scenes, continuously focusing on telling the story about their Living Office concept.

Today, I work as an illustrator just as much as I do art direction, and I love it. I owe Herman Miller a huge thanks for making me go back to drawing, which is something I did a lot when I was younger, and which was crucial for me when I started to pursue a career in design.”

“The way I illustrate is very similar to how I work with graphic design. I think one of my strengths is that I reason like an art director and draw like a graphic designer. The result is very straight forward, clean, to the point, with a focus on getting the message through.

The illustrations for Herman Miller is almost like working with typography for me, where each person and prop is a character in an alphabet. I focus a lot on the spacing and balance between the characters, just like when kerning letters.

My color palette is warm and human, and is often derived from fruits and greens. This is a way for me to create color schemes that stand the test of time. Fruits and vegetables stand above trends. They’re timeless pieces of nature.”

Glenn Garriock