Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Stéphane Leathead (SL) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Stéphane Leathead by clicking here.
Interview with Stéphane Leathead at Monday 9th of March 2015
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?
SL: I was always interested in art and I wanted to use my creativity so I figured that the best way to express it would be by offering it. I have a degree in Graphic Design from UQAM, Quebec's University in Montreal.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SL: Designarium is a small design studio for now. We do branding consultancy and furniture design which make us unique.
FS: What is "design" for you?
SL: It is the process of understanding, analyzing and finding solutions to a specific need. It's a challenge.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SL: IProjects involving 3D aspects. I always try to create an experience for the consumers, even with basic things like a business card for example. I enjoy generating interactions through my designs. It is wonderful observing how people act and react to certain designs, objects, pieces of art. It is fascinating seeing them manipulate or trying to figure out how something works.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SL: What I appreciate the most is any piece of design that pushes the boundaries further. Being a graphic designer, I'm more sensitive about great communication design but I'm always fascinated by ingenious ideas in furniture and object design.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SL: An identity with all the collateral.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SL: Paper is my first love, folding it, cutting it, creating objects from a simple element. When it comes to furniture design, wood and natural fibres are essential.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SL: When I'm in my zone. When a challenge is given or when I realize something needs to be done to improve something. Finding solutions to a given problem.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SL: Is it worth it ? Function or purpose. Many designs are often very beautiful but they also make you wonder if they really solve anything, has anyone thought about user-experience? I'm always trying to reach a level of meaningfulness and ingenuity with my designs. One of the keys to creating a successful, smart design is knowing which effect and perception you want to achieve. I want my designs to produce outcomes.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SL: It starts with motivation, I need to feel a challenge. I trust my instinct and I express myself on paper without limitations. Often, when ideas are relevant, I feel a sense of accomplished, of satisfaction.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SL: I'm proud of it.
FS: What makes a design successful?
SL: A balance between aesthetic and function. What make us more appreciative than this? When you don't need to explain it, when the design speaks for itself.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SL: If it solves something, if it's meaningful, if it seduces me
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SL: We should always try to improve our environment, make it better, more enjoyable for everyone, while being gentle to our planet.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
SL: Fast!! Now a day, with the Internet and the constant flow of ideas and information, we are exposed to so much that it's hard to stand out from that cluster. I think that we'll see more and more partnerships and multi-talented and multitasking people sharing ideas to create better experiences, smarter designs!
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
SL: It was the first one as well!! It was at the Interior Design Show in Toronto 2015. When I'll be ready!
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SL: Nature. I often look at nature and wonder how it all happened, under which circumstances it developed and such. That's enough to get me started and ideas just start popping in my mind.
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?
SL: Minimalist. I always focus on the essentials. I love simplicity. I don't think I have a style, I leave that up to others, to define my style.
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?
SL: Montreal. I don't think that the cultural background affected me. But my own living experiences forged me the way I am today and keep influencing what I do. On a larger scale, I think that living in Montreal encouraged a freedom of mind and openness that you may not find in other countries. We have the liberty of creating anything we want.
FS: How do you work with companies?
SL: On a human scale. I hate feeling like I'm just another number
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SL: If you're to work with a designer, that means that you don't have the skills to get the job done so trust him. Make sure you understand the process, if you don't, then ask for it, make sure you really understand and define your goals. Work in and with a collaborative mindset. To select a designer is like going to the restaurant, you never get the same thing but you enjoy the preparation, the ambiance, the taste of your meal, the overall experience, and you go back when you want to live it again but to taste something different. So trust your guts.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SL: Focus on the essential
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
SL: Less is more.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SL: Open-mindedness and curiosity. You must be driven by the desire to question your environment, to improve it, to never just be satisfied with what's there. To question.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
SL: I use Illustrator for graphic design, pencil and paper for 3D design
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SL: I don't. Sometimes you just need to spend time that needs to be spent.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SL: It's never the same.
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
SL: What is a designer?
FS: What was your most important job experience?
SL: The design of the Exocet chair and its branding. Because it opened up a new dimension for the expression of my creativity.
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
SL: I love complex mandate that challenges my creativity.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
SL: To develop my studio and keep designing.
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
SL: I'm alone for now but I hope eventually to set a team around me
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
SL: I'm planning an Exocet Collection, other furniture designed with the same principle in mind.
FS: How can people contact you?
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