Steve Frykholm was the first in-house graphic designer hired by Herman Miller in 1970. His assignments seem banal in retrospect–designing an internal poster for the company picnic here, creating the annual report there–but the inventive and passionate way Frykholm approached these projects is what made him a legend.
His run of screen printed picnic posters spanned twenty years, and eventually their bright, pop art colors and magnified shapes found a home in art institutions around the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art. His first, and most well known poster, shows a set of teeth clamping down on an ear of corn (the yearly picnic is known as the Sweet Corn Festival). It’s a perfect example of what makes his work great — the blown up, primary colored images, which may take a second to interpret as a mouth and corn, make the poster funny, striking and iconic.
New York production company Dress Code commemorated Frykholm’s iconic posters in a short video, which includes some of his original sketches and follows a reprinting of his works. Frykholm has worked at Herman Miller for 45 years now, and he still isn’t ready to retire.
He told Why Magazine, “I ran into a former colleague who retired several years ago and he said, ‘How are things at Herman Miller?’ And I said, ‘Well I got to tell you man, I wish I was 10 years younger so I could ride this sucker a little longer.'”