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Furniture maker searches the globe for designers

September 11, 2014
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Eames chair
Herman Miller and Unbranded Designs have paired to find design talent. Photo via

Up and coming designers will have an opportunity to have their work viewed by one of the world’s leaders in furniture design, regardless of where they live.

Herman Miller announced it is partnering with Chicago-based Unbranded Designs on an open competition to discover new design talent from across the globe.

Unbranded Designs connects designers from around the world through its global platform, allowing them to share ideas, solve design challenges, and receive feedback from one another through design challenges and open submissions.

Herman Miller will host its first design challenge on the site this month, beginning Sept. 11.

Submissions will go through a review process including open feedback from the broader design community as well as a juried panel of design experts. Designers will have an opportunity to make revisions based on the feedback, and then the panel will select the winner. Development at Herman Miller will begin shortly thereafter.

“At Herman Miller we believe that there are talented designers all over the world capable of delivering inspiring solutions to challenging problems,” said Gary Smith, vice president of product design and exploration at Herman Miller.

“With Unbranded Designs’ platform, we have an exciting and new way to connect with this talent and share our core values around design.”

Designs must be commercially viable to be considered.

“This is not a 'fun competition' for ideas; it is a process and opportunity that focuses on the commercial potential of the best ideas, which in turn leads to fantastic opportunities for designers and innovative products for Herman Miller,” said Sameer Dohadwala, co-founder of Unbranded Designs.

Winning designers will receive cash, royalties and have their name publicly displayed in marketing and collateral, in association with any commercialized products based on their designs.

Non-winning finalists will receive prizes, recognition throughout the process, and feedback from a world-class juried panel of design experts, to ensure that they still find value in the opportunity. Designers retain 100 percent ownership of their designs if Herman Miller chooses not to move forward with formal development of their work.

Further details including the problem statement, legal terms and conditions, and other pertinent information will be available beginning at 4 p.m., Sept. 11, here.

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