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Interview with Travis Baldwin

Home > Designer Interviews > Travis Baldwin

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Travis Baldwin (TB) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Travis Baldwin by clicking here.

Interview with Travis Baldwin at Monday 26th of November 2018

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?
TB: While growing up, my family exposed me to many different cultures and perspectives... mostly through travel, but also because of my father's profession as a psychologist. It's always been fascinating to imagine how different people perceive the world and things around them, and to me the ultimate creative challenge is to craft a product to evoke strong emotions in someone else.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
TB: Créa Inc Design was formed in Colorado in 2004. At the time I was working at a startup, my colleagues explained the advantages of a company and generally how the run one. As a designer, starting a company would be a way to creatively express myself and take on independent project work outside of a day job. The name itself was meant to not tie me in to a specific niche, but to broadly cover work ranging from client projects to independently manufacturing my own products. Since inception, we have worked across a range of products I'd never had thought possible when I mailed in the incorporation papers...

FS: What is "design" for you?
TB: Design is creatively solving a human centered problem, to never settle for just an adequate solution, and aspiring to bring emotional engagement into the final result.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
TB: My favorite design work has been when there is an opportunity to bring together a team to solve problems, each member complimenting each other and ultimately producing a work that would not have been possible alone.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
TB: My favorite design is whatever I am designing at the moment. There is something I was passionate about in every product I've worked on and so many stand out in my mind. There was an ultrasound machine, never released, that was a very sculptural blend of functionality and design. One of my first award winning products, the IBM Internet Appliance, was a geometrically balanced product that gave me my first real chance to shape a product. And many many others!

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
TB: I designed 3D visualizations of abstract software processes for wizard interfaces. It was a great challenge, to understand something that didn't 'exist' and try to make it easier to understand with a new vocabulary of shapes and colors.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
TB: My favorite material lately is SLS laser sintered nylon. It's strong, can be dyed, and 3D printable into shapes that otherwise would not be manufacturable.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
TB: Usually my most creative and productive time is late afternoon.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
TB: It depends on the project and phase. More an more, I enjoy work a the front end of the project when the challenge of "what" to make is still being defined. It's a wonderful challenge to sculpt a product that is beautiful, functional, and manufacture-able as well.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
TB: Often the satisfaction of a frustrating challenge comes up. It's not a negative feeling... but a feeling of confidence while searching for a solution that hasn't presented itself yet. The exploration of different possible ideas for the final result.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
TB: pride. satisfaction. the desire to keep improving.

FS: What makes a design successful?
TB: Commercially, a successful design creates something of value for the people purchasing and using it. As a designer, a successful product brings something new and better into the world. Mechanically, success is efficiently delivering a solution for all constraints.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
TB: Whether it delivers a better solution to the reason it was commissioned. Visually, I'm attracted to simple, elegant shapes with well considered construction.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
TB: Ultimately, a designers responsibility is to bring better things into the world than have existed before it. For the environment, we should strive to be part of environmental solutions, however that may be done within the confines of projects.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
TB: Products and digital services have become inseparable. What's happening behind the screen has overtaken physical design for the moment, but in the future product emphasis could be more tangible and physical again.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
TB: I had a biometric camera displayed in Chengdu Design Week in 2015.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
TB: Every day new images are added to my collection, found on the internet and in the world. These are continuous creative inspiration.

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?
TB: Simple, harmonious shapes with as little decoration as possible. Graceful lines and surfaces when appropriate. Elegant packaging of whatever makes the product work. I believe it's important to design from both the inside out as well as the outside in... understanding what is happening within the product as well as how it's used and perceived from the outside.

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?
TB: For me, living in the UK is living in a foreign country. Previously living in several other countries has expanded my sensitivity to different cultures, including my own in the US. Sometimes cultural differences can be confusing however, and by trying to understand a new way of looking at things can destabilize old cultural bedrock ideas.

FS: How do you work with companies?
TB: Mostly my clients find Créa by word of mouth and professional networks. This has kept me quite busy, so there hasn't been a need to market myself publicly... though it interests me to work with new partner companies.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
TB: Look for a designer with broad experience and good competence in the core areas of work you need commissioned. I feel there's many designers can do one skill extremely well but lack other vital skills necessary to see the big picture of a design.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
TB: An Arco lamp by Castaglioni. A tulip table by Saarinen. Ipad pro 12.9". Mortar and Pedestal by Mint (Scott Henderson). Triumph Street Triple 2010.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
TB: Swimming in the morning. A morning in the office, with a client or students, or at a vendor. Walking Roxy the Boston Terrier at lunch. More intense design work in the afternoon. Dinner or drinks with my partner and perhaps with friends.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
TB: Strive for financial independence (by saving and planning), so you don't have to make career decisions based on money.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
TB: I think life is much more complicated as a designer, as we hold ourselves to higher standards in what we do and can be quite demanding. At the same time, the aspiration for excellence is often realized in a new design brought into the world, which is a great feeling.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
TB: never center logos

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
TB: A broad understanding of the product they are designing. A passion in what they are doing. Persistence and stubbornness. Good communication skills.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
TB: My core tool list always starts with pen and paper, then moves to the standard 2 and 3D software.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
TB: I work long hours! Also, as Richard Branson has said, "I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit."

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
TB: depends

FS: What was your most important job experience?
TB: Working at IBM both opened my eyes to a rich design heritage, industry leading development experience, and strong brand values... though the strong design style is not loved by all designers. It set my career path. Later, working as a designer at NASA JSC added an experience that will permanently be a highlight of my career and fulfilled a childhood dream.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
TB: Boston Consulting Group, Scientific Games, Total Petroleum, many smaller startups and entrepreneurs, European consultancies, etc.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
TB: Physical product design is the most enjoyable when there is the opportunity to sculpturally experiment with new forms. Exploring the personalities and behaviors of key stakeholders to deliver a product best suited to them is an amazing cultural challenge.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
TB: my dream is to develop a personal product idea into a business... stay tuned.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
TB: Both. Some contracts allow more than one person to join my team, which has been very rewarding. Often projects are smaller and can be done alone.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
TB: yes, but I can't talk about them ;-)

FS: How can people contact you?
TB: Email is best... travis.baldwin@creaincdesign.com

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
TB: Bringing new, successful products into the world is truly my passion. If there is a chance to work with new, interesting partners who share this sentiment, Créa would love to be in touch.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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