Passionate about how people interact with one another, with things and with places—Ken Krayer is an outspoken advocate for design education, innovation and design management. Ken builds fires in the bellies of his steamboats and affective teams alike.




Cranbrook Academy of Art

MFA, Design Focus on furniture, product and interior design.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

BS, Art Education 



Independent Consultant - Krayer


Sauder Woodworking (2009–Present) Design management, brand strategy, product development process implementation and improvements, oversee seating manufacturing in China.

Tiger Studio (2010–Present) Design reviews LPK (2012–Present) Materials and surface trending and development

Steelcase, Inc. (2008–2011) Global Currents Project, materials and color trending, strategy and research, color development for fabrics.

Kendall College of Art and Design (2010–Present) External reviewer to the Product Design Program, adjunct faculty Product Design, adjunct faculty Collaborative Design, advisory board, IDSA student merit juror.

Zero1 (December 2008–2010) Product design, customer relations, project definition, competitive analysis, fabric and finishes, marketing materials, show- rooms and trade shows.

Skolos/Wedell (2008) Health Resources and Services Administration, Ryan White Care Act, Annual meeting, Washington, DC

Design West Michigan (2007–2009) Advisor Council

ODL, Inc. (2007–Present) Design and Development C-4 Communications

(2007–2008)  “Detroit Make It Here” Cultural Initiative Graves Design Studio (2007) Product strategy and resource networking

Appliance Design Magazine Excellence in Design Competition (2006–2007) Juror

Reagan Marketing and Design (2004–2005) Product research and analysis

OfficeInSight E-Magazine (2004–2005) Published annual product review for contract furniture industry


Haworth, Inc.

Director of Design February, 2000–July, 2003

First design director in 50-year history of company. Design leader for all product development, marketing, and Haworth global brand initiatives. Managed internal design teams and external design consultants. Developed design synergy among Haworth’s global companies. Led surface materials program for design, development, and marketing. Directed marketing communication team: print materials, web, communications, trade shows, and showrooms. Surface materials launches in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 with all efforts supporting elevation of design within brand strategy. Alignment and aesthetic synergy between Haworth surface materials program and SMED (a Haworth subsidiary). Interior design and exterior finish selection of Haworth corporate jet for aesthetically differentiated design resulting in significant impact on customer experience.


Steelcase, Inc. Director of Design for Details and Manager of Surface Materials


Responsibilities included: design lead for Details, a successful entrepreneurial venture for Steelcase, Inc. Design lead for all product development: developing over 300 products, many of which are still in production. Targeted all aspects of brand experience, beginning with product design through various facets of customer experience. During tenure, Details became an $87 million company with 100 employees which ran as a lean and innovative company with very profitable high-performance designs. Average product development cycle was nine months. Design leader for small internal design staff. Utilized outside design resources including IDEO, Smart Design, Fahnstrom/McCoy Design, Steven Copeland, Rick Valecenti, James Ludwig (currently Steelcase VP of Design), the Richard Penney Group and others. Art directed photography, graphic design for marketing materials, website, and catalogue production. Designed showrooms and trade show booths for NeoCon, WestWeek, Designer Saturday and various other contract shows. Expanded into European market via Steelcase’s existing sales and distribution network. Managed re- search, product and product line adjustments, product development, market- ing materials, and trade shows.


A+O Studio, San Francisco, California Senior Designer December


Staff designer for the Technology Garage, an interactive museum in San Jose, California Responsibilities included: research, concept development, design, development and exhibit fabrication. Exhibits included microelectronics, space, biotechnology, bicycling, and robotics. The museum continues to be a very successful Bay Area attraction.


Studio Dumbar, Den Haag, The Netherlands

Exhibit Designer June, 1988–September, 1988

Designed exhibit in conjunction with book designed by Robert Nakata on the first 20 years of Studio Dumbar.



KCAD - Kendall College of Art and Design / Design West Michigan

(2009–Present) Professor, Executive Director Design West Michigan, Director of Business Engagement, Manager of Materials ConnecXion, External reviewer to the Product Design Program, adjunct faculty Product Design, adjunct faculty Collaborative Design, IDSA Student Chapter Sponsor. IDSA student merit juror. Designed and launched KCAD PoP-Up Talks, 9 in the first semester.

CCS - College for Creative Studies

September, 2003–December 2008

Positions held during tenure: Chair, Product Design; Chair, Furniture Section; Co-Chair, Interior Design; Professor Product Design. Responsibilities include: course instruction, student mentoring, strategic planning, interviewing and hiring of design faculty, curriculum development, ongoing lecture series planning, and budget development and management. Maintain business relations for: student job placement, sponsored projects, internships, corporate donations, and scholarships. Areas of focus for course instruction include: product design, furniture design, exhibit design, transportation design, interface design, color and materials, portfolio, and independent study courses. Restructured department integrating furniture design track into product design for greater efficiency and inter-disciplinary approach of product design education.

Rhode Island School of Design

2007, 2014 Guest lecturer, critic

California College of the Arts

1989 Adjunct Professor, Industrial Design Department 



Best of NeoCon, NeoCon Gold, NeoCon Silver, and NeoCon Bronze awards, ID magazine annual awards, AIA Chicago chapter award for NeoCon showroom, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Distinguished Alumni Award, 1st place in the Post Post-Modern Clock competition. 



Work held in the permanent collections of The Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Erie Art Museum, and several private collections.



Dutch Design, Culture in Context - Grand Rapids Art Museum (2017) -

Dutch Design: Speaking to Concept, KCAD Pop-Up Talks (2014)

Portfolio Development, KCAD lecture (2009, 2013, 2014)

Animation as an Emerging Tool in the Industrial Designer’s Portfolio, IDSA MidEast Conference (April, 2007)

Technology, Emotion and Experience, Detroit Auto Show (January, 2006), Wayne State University (February, 2006), IDSA Mid-east conference (April, 2006)

Making in Context, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (April, 2004)

Ken Krayer 20 Years of Work, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan (April, 2003)

Green Analysis and Cultural Sustainability for Office Specification, NeoCon, Chicago, Illinois (June, 2002)

Ken Krayer: My Work, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (February, 2002)

Cranbrook Plus, Erie Art Museum, Erie, Pennsylvania (May, 1998) Ken Krayer: My Work, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (January, 1997)

Ken Krayer: My Work, Parsons School of Design, New York, New York (October, 1996)

Ken Krayer: My Work, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (March, 1995)

Details as an Intrapreneurial Model, University of California, Los Angeles, California (November, 1994)

Ken Krayer: My Work, American Embassy, Tokyo Japan (November, 1992)


Professional Memberships 

Industrial Design Society of America 

Design Management Institute

Design West Michigan 

Society for Experimental Form


Volunteer Work

Board member - Creative Many Michigan -

Cranbrook Academy of Art - National Advisory Council

Site Lab -

Steam Railroading Institute -

Art Prize - consulting -

Society for Experimental Form - 2018 Summer Residencey at Farmageddon, Saugatuck, MI - Julie Schenkelberg -


Not everything is on here. Lets get together, talk about it more, then go find it.