George Nelson is credited as being one of the founding fathers of American Modernism. He trained as an architect, but became a master of several design disciplines through his career. In 1945, Nelson became director of design at Herman Miller, a position he held until 1972. While there, he recruited other seminal modern designers, including Charles Eames and Isamu Noguchi, as they shepherded design into the modern era.
Nelson said that for a designer to deal creatively with human needs, "he must first make a radical, conscious break with all values that he identifies as anti-human". He felt that designers must be “aware of the consequences of their actions on people and society and thus cultivate a broad base of knowledge and understanding.” He was an early environmentalist, one of the first designers to take an interest in new communications technology and a powerful writer and teacher. Perhaps influenced by his friend Buckminster Fuller, Nelson had the ultimate goal as a designer “to do much more with much less.”