Steve Frykholm’s design career at Herman Miller began with a large ear of sweet corn—a curiously appropriate symbol, its rows of kernels forming an orderly grid and its roots originating in the watery, agrarian landscape of Western Michigan. Soon after arriving at the Zeeland-based furniture manufacturer, in 1970, Frykholm was asked to design a poster for the company picnic, named the Sweet Corn Festival. “I said I’d take a crack at it,” he recalls. Working with designer Phil Mitchell, Frykholm came up with a 29“ x 39” screen print of a pair of teeth clamped around an ear of corn, printed Pop Art-style in high-gloss inks.
Steve Frykholm joined Herman Miller in 1970 as the company’s first internal graphic designer. Two weeks into the job, he was asked by an executive to make a poster announcing the company’s annual employee picnic. In a moment of inspiration, Frykholm put an ear of corn in his mouth and asked a colleague to make a quick sketch.