Herman Miller’s poster archive has no shortage of gems, but few capture the essence of summer better than the recently reissued Watermelon Picnic poster, designed by Steve Frykholm in 1971. Beloved by vintage design hunters and a rare find, the Watermelon Picnic Poster is the latest limited run reprint from Herman Miller, as part of a revival of its iconic picnic poster series by Frykholm, whose Sweet Corn Picnic poster was reprinted in 2021.
As one of 20 posters Frykholm created for Herman Miller’s company picnics, Frykholm’s vibrantly colourful designs capture the essence of a summer gathering. Celebrated for its wit, zoomed in view and use of colour, the iconic poster series is part of numerous museum collections, making it some of the company’s most sought-after designs.
Herman Miller Watermelon Poster by Steve Frykholm
Frykholm, who began working for Herman Miller in 1970, was hired as the company’s first in-house graphic designer. A recent graduate from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, one of his earliest tasks was to design a poster to promote the company’s annual summer picnic. Some of the series’ lesser-known close-ups showcase other summer staples such as pie slices, popsicles, layered salad, chocolate cake and honeyed ham.
More than 50 years on, Frykholm still works at Herman Miller. Fittingly, the limited and numbered run of 200 posters has been faithfully recreated in Michigan at the original screen printers’ studio, using the authentic 1971 screen. Printed onto 100% cotton paper and framed in American maple with a natural, white, or black finish, the poster appears to float in the frame, creating a graphic look when hung on a wall.
'People often ask where they can find the bold ads and graphic artworks on the walls of our office spaces, which prompted us to reprint selected pieces from our archives,’ says Amy Auscherman, Director, Archives and Brand Heritage. ‘The Watermelon Picnic Poster is one of our customer favourites. I like that you can clearly tell what it is thanks to the colours, but it feels way more abstract.’
$895, available from hermanmiller.com
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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.
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