Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Stefan Radev (SR) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Stefan Radev by clicking here.
Interview with Stefan Radev at Monday 14th of April 2014
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
SR: I have always been interested in technical development, inventions, art, creating gadgets ever since my childhood. It was a natural decision to become a product designer.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SR: We are an international team located in Barcelona- Spain and in Hamburg- Germany. Focused on helping local and international companies in terms of product and industrial design. Our services are holistic and reach out pretty much through the whole process of development up to preparing marketing material for advertisement campaigns. One of our specialities is the multidisciplinary experience that enables us to offer an added value into each design solution we develop.
FS: What is "design" for you?
SR: Design is a very diverse field. It means creating objects, offering sustainable solutions to existing problems, making our daily and or professional life more comfortable, enjoyable.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SR: I am pretty much interested in interdisciplinary fields, from consumer electronics, outdoor sport equipment up to industrial machinery and transportation related products. This gives me the most joy and expertise, because all objects are connected to each other most of the time in a different way, even if that is not obvious from first sight.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SR: Hard to remember as there were so many projects. I have been deeply involved in the design process of an outdoor equipment series called Cult Paraglider harness and Cockpit. It involved creating exterior and functional solutions. An interesting project as it is a product family and I had the honour to accompany the project up to its second generation from the initial ideas up to serial production. There were tough moments, especially creating the aerodynamic leg cover that had to be separable in case of an emergency. I managed to offer a unique cutaway solution for this element that was successfully tested and enetered the final production. The most fulfilling part was holding the final result in my hands and testing the equipment. It is always fun to try the end result of something one has been involved in creating it.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SR: I love to mix traditional and modern tools that help expressing ideas. I love water colour brushes, ballpoint pen for sketching as well as digital tablet sketches with a Wacom tablet.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SR: That is when a project brief is well prepared and it is well communicated what the client needs. Then I have the appropriate information basis to start my work. Furthermore creative solutions appear not only in my office but while travelling or late in the night. The creative process is hard to limit within standard work hours.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SR: Personally I am equally focused on the creation of initial ideas as well as preparing the conceptual designs. I like the whole design process and love to be involved pretty much from the start.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SR: Well, often I am in constant alert asking questions what would be the most appropriate solution for a certain design problem. Once there are some valuable solutions created. I ask myself could there be better solutions or designs.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SR: Every time a moment of fulfilment.
FS: What makes a design successful?
SR: Good question. A successful design is a well balanced combination of art and technological solutions. I think it is important to be context related and sustainable. It should be equally functional and good looking.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SR: How the design solution does addresses certain problems of a specific user group for example or how sustainable the offered solutions are.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SR: Of course a designer should have in mind all aspects that affect a certain user group and society. A designer should offer the best possible compromise for a certain design to be environmentally friendly.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SR: I am constantly inspired by all things that surround us. Always impressed by automotive design, gadgets, electronics.
FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
SR: In my approach I try to set the best possible useful, context related, technical solution and balance it with an appealing look, offering a sustainable end result. Deeply researching the target user groups. I focus to be in compliance with the given brief also having in mind the whole picture of the user and environment.
FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
SR: I grew up internationally and have been living the last years in Hamburg and Barcelona. There is a cultural heritage and difference in each different country, no doubt. It is important to be open to each culture and its traditions and heritage. One can absorb all this information and pick inspirational elements and moments to implement in his work.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SR: Most of the projects are been given due to personal contacts. That has a long tradition. A good designer can and should be judged on his/her track record, what they had done in the past and what impact that work had to name one of the possible criteria.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
SR: One of the core ingredients of our successful work process lies in carefully applying four phases to each project: Understanding, Creation, Refinement, Realisation. Understanding brand values, identity and customer needs, allows a more direct and holistic approach to client’s needs and goals, thus ensuring the approached solutions are context related and of sustainable character. Analysing current market, target groups and mapping future scenarios. Helping in giving valuable thought to strategies in order to form a competitive market position. Creation happens within a broader and diverse sense, starting with an ideation, as a natural result from the “Understanding phase”. This process is supported by a long year experience in diverse fields, which helps bringing distinct design concepts with an added value, packed in different design concepts. Refinement of the chosen design concept, includes fine tuning of shapes, parameters, appearance, colour & material choice. It is a phase where a close collaboration with the construction department is aimed to comply with existing constraints and ensure a cost effective realisation. Realisation takes a precise focus on creating a prototype of the chosen concept, ensuring the concept is transformed to a successful market test. After a successful, thorough test a pre-serial production takes place followed by a final serial production.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SR: Being curious in everything that surrounds us, take your time to develop your skill set and focus on a few core fields that interest you first. Be patient, have a healthy work life balance.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
SR: Being a designer is a set of mind as well not only a profession. I personally find myself looking at each and every product and details that surrounds us and constantly think of a way to offer a better solution. It is fulfilling but at times very stressful.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SR: Being able to understand, to listen well. Speaking different languages is important. Then when it comes to the actual work it is important to be able to express ideas fast and of course to be able to build your ideas in 3D and present is a must.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SR: It pretty much depends on the type of object and the organisation for which it has to be done.
FS: What was your most important job experience?
SR: There are a couple projects that I were important ranging from outdoor equipment up to coffee machine design.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
SR: These are large and small technology companies. Architectural, Engineering and Design agencies as well, as we offer team support as an external work force too.
FS: How can people contact you?
SR: On our webpage there are plenty of ways to contact. You can either write us an email on email@example.com or call us.
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