American Ingenuity: Why These Design Companies are Strong American Brands

In furniture, there are many strong American brands that would look great in your home or workplace
Photo by CC user Jmabel on Wikimedia Commons

When we make a purchase, we want that purchase to be an investment, even if on a subconscious level. Would you willingly buy something that’ll fall apart in six months’ time? How often do you really want to replace the floor lamp by your lounge chair? Is going to Ikea every month worth the drive, cart maneuvering and long lines? Why not just go to a showroom and test out the furniture pieces then and there? Better yet, why not just buy from a reputable American design company whose mission is to design, create and build a lasting and timeless product?

Stop wasting your money at discount furniture stores and make an investment in your life. Here are three American design companies, specializing in furniture, product and lighting designs that have stood the test of time and continue to mold the design industry.


Founded in 1978 by David Kelley, a young and blossoming engineer, IDEO was meant to be an organization that welcomed builders, dreamers and creators with open arms. Kelley explained that “[His] dream for the future of IDEO is the same as it was back in 1978: that everyone at IDEO finds their calling; that being [at IDEO] feels like working with friends; that we are all enjoying our lives; that we are engaged in what feels like important work we were personally put on Earth to do.”

IDEO believed in face-to-face communication without setting a tone. Sharing ideas and prototypes together without any formal agenda would stimulate thought and generate action. Through discussion the IDEO design team learned how to communicate and work through design challenges. They found inspiration and created evolved, environmentally friendly designs. For the last several decades IDEO has continued to develop strong, life-changing designs.

Feiss Lighting

When her son sailed to the Pacific to serve the U.S. during World War II, Rose Feiss decided she needed to keep her hands and mind busy. To combat her fears about her son’s safety, Ms. Feiss began making custom lampshades and selling them to any who asked for one.

Upon his return, Ms. Feiss’ son, Murray Feiss, recognized in his mother’s artistry and work ethic a profitable business opportunity, one that would celebrate togetherness, creativity and American ingenuity. Soon, Murray was designing porcelain lamp bases and fittings to be topped by mom’s lampshades. It wasn’t long before the American company Feiss Lighting got into business.

The Feiss Lighting Company understands that to move forward, there must be an understanding of what worked or didn’t work in the past. Feiss designers build on the lighting designs of the past and transform them into modern pieces of lighting greatness. In building on the successes of yesteryear and retooling the not-so-successful, Feiss has created a company with a reputation built around skill, craftsmanship and industry.

Herman Miller

The Herman Miller Company has long been associated with the greats of the design field, including George Nelson, Yves Béhar and Charles and Ray Eames.

A young hardworking and ambitious man by the name of D.J. De Pree had been working at was called the Michigan Star Furniture Company. After discussing the promise of the furniture company with his father-in-law, Herman Miller, De Pree and Miller bought the company. Wanting to name the company after a man of honor, De Pree christened the furniture company after his supportive father-in-law.

By the mid-20th century, the Herman Miller company was synonymous with modern furniture décor. Today, Herman Miller is still widely regarded as the furniture company that started it all, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

If you want to make a statement, support American brands—they support you.