history of ASFD

Although at different times and sections of the United States associations of furniture designers have existed—primarily in areas where furniture manufacturing was concentrated, such as Grand Rapids—no attempt at organizing one on a national level had been undertaken.


During the 1950’s, there was an association of furniture designers in the High Point area, but a lack of support doomed the organization. Max Stout, a High Point-based furniture designer saw the good such an organization could do, but on a much larger scale.

In September 1981, Stout personally contacted some 20 designers in the High Point area and invited them to an informal meeting at the Furniture Library in High Point to gauge the interest in such a group. Enthusiasm at this inaugural meeting led to plans for a larger gathering at the April furniture market that would include designers from all over the country.

Knowing that management of the fledgling association would be critical, Stout enlisted the aid of Douglas Kerr, of Kerr Management Group, to help organize the meeting and draft an agenda. At that first official meeting of the American Society of Furniture Designers in April 1982 at Top of the Mart, committees were formed to draft a set of by-laws and a president and board of directors was summarily elected.

Stout was elected to that first board of directors of ASFD and later served as president in 1984-85. He remained active in the association he founded up until his death on August 30, 1999.

Since it’s founding, ASFD has grown to encompass a worldwide membership and continues to be a vital force in our industry.