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Interview with Tati Ferrucio

Home > Designer Interviews > Tati Ferrucio

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

Interview with Tati Ferrucio at Monday 22nd of June 2020
Tatiana Ferrucio
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?
TF: Art was always part of my childhood, even though I had no direct influence from my parents on this matter. I grew up in a house full of math and science, but one of my uncles was an artist and his world of paintings and sculptures inspired me somehow to be part of that. My parents incentive my willing to draw and paint since I was really young and I have always enjoyed art, music and dance. I wasn't very sure about what I wanted to study in college when I started, but I ended up enrolling on the Industrial Design program at Universidade Federal Fluminense (Niterói, Brazil) and felt in love with the ability of designing for a wide range of products and experiences.

FS: What is "design" for you?
TF: Design is the ability of using creativity to transform our reality, always advocating for humans and the environment. It is thoughtful process that aims to defy how we experience the world today in order to deliver a sustainable and meaningful future to society. I also believe that designers should be ready to create products that serve people more than just being functional or aesthetically pleasant. Products need to spark joy and bring meaningful experiences to individuals.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
TF: I personally enjoy to design products that are disruptive on form, user experience and aesthetics, transcending our current perspective of the world. Projects that question how we interact with objects today or envision new futures to society are the ones that triggers my my ability to design and create at most. This happens because they are impactful, thoughtful and human focused most of the time, and it is usually what I advocate for when designing.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
TF: I definitely feel most creative when I am immersed on the project context. The process of research, observation and interview users/experts helps me understand the reasons why a design intervention is necessary on that environment. Once I have a clear picture of where my work will step in, it is almost an unconscious exercise to think through potential solutions and ways to approach the design problem. Context can come from user needs and desires, but also from technical constraints, sustainable approaches on manufacturing, among many other requirements that a project may have.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
TF: On my perspective, design empowers my creativity to deliver something meaningful to society. When designing a product and/or an experience to my consumers/users, I capable of giving back to the collective, using my very best skill to improve our life in community. You can choose to design by yourself, considering your world and life perspective. However, I believe that will never be as rewarding as building a true change, co-creating with people and enhancing your ideas with so many different points of view.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
TF: When I have a project finished and users have a good response to it, I definitely feel beyond accomplished. At the end of the day, design is made for people. I can't think of anything more rewarding than knowing that people would buy my product instead of something else, because that object speaks to them somehow.

FS: What makes a design successful?
TF: There are many aspects that make a design successful and it can vary through projects. From my perspective, a design is successful when it meets the users’ needs, but it is also meaningful and unexpected. I believe products should serve people more than just being functional or aesthetically pleasant. In order to be successful, products and experiences need to touch peoples’ lives and spark joy, or make them reflect about their own worlds.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
TF: This question is tricky, because there are many aspects that need to be considered in order to judge what is "good" or "bad" design. Some cases can be even harder to evaluate, since we don't have the full picture of the design process, so we can't judge the decisions made along the way. In my opinion, good design is true to its context and users. It needs to be suitable to the environment, as well as meet the users needs and desires. Even knowing that designers might have different styles and approaches, I also believe that good design has a cohesive aesthetics to the environment this object will be part of. For example, if I am designing a product for the home environment, I might not have sharp edges or cold CMFs, since those spaces are meant to be inviting and comforting. It is impossible to have a product that pleases everybody, because people are touched by different visual stimulus. Having this in mind, I would consider a design good when it is functional and desirable by the user/consumer, as well as social and environmentally responsible.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
TF: All of them. Design is on the edge of innovation. As designers, we are the first ones to break the linearity of the product development process, always questioning our ways of making. By profession, designers need to be aware of what social values are acceptable or not to build a better community to everyone. We should also embrace culture as an expression of identity. All humans are intrinsically creative and capable of contributing to culture. Our commitment to the environment is also essential. We already know that our planet won't be able to support our consume behavior for too long. As designers, we have to seek ways to deliver sustainable and meaningful products/experiences to society. We need a feasible and viable solution - because we can't afford less than that. Since we are the most exposed to what comes next, it is our responsibility to imagine a better future as well. It's part of our job to push society forward to a more equal and sustainable world.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
TF: On my perspective, design will increasingly migrate to integrated services (physical object + digital product + experience + service) and the boundaries between those fields will get smaller and harder to define. I don't believe that industrial design as a profession is "dying", but adapting to a reality that changes at an extremely fast pace. As we are not living completely in a digital world (yet?), the physical experience will still be valued in a more complete and expressive way. In terms of careers, I believe there are two possible paths - one would be a generalist designer, capable of doing a little bit of everything (service, industrial design, UX/UI, etc). The second would be the exact opposite - a highly qualified professional on a single skill (visual designer, CMF designer, engineering designer, etc) who can work alongside people from other disciplines.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
TF: My last solo exhibition was at the Casa Shopping Mall in my hometown, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). In 2018, I participated on the “Brazilian New Talents” exhibition where I showcased the Laço Stool, in partnership with the biggest retailer in the country, Americanas.com. This stool is a customized version of the carioquinha stool and it was developed to compose the exhibition alongside other 9 Brazilian designers. Working corporate, I had the opportunity to work on the GE Appliances Innovation Lab and showcase Homegrown at CES 2020. Homegrown is a conceptual kitchen that aims to promote sustainable living by conserving resources, energy and maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
TF: Inspiration comes very often from my reflections about our daily routines and how we interact with the environment as community. I am also very influenced by art in all its medias. From dance perfomances to paintings, art invites me to reflect on how I perceive with the world, and why I react to it in a certain way. On the actual work day, websites such as Pinterest, Lemanoosh and Behance work really well to keep me inspired. I believe we should look as many images and creative work as we can in order to be good designers. The creative process is nothing more than a collage of all these fragments of visual information we collect along the way. The more references you have, the bigger will be the library of shapes and details from where you will take inspiration to design new and unexpected objects. When browsing on those platforms, I focus on small details like surface transitions, patterns, CMF, etc. These are always good and interesting inspirations in order to build my projects from a smaller to a bigger scale.

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?
TF: I personally don't think I have a style, but values I carry on through my design process. Whether in the professional field or in personal projects, I usually look forward to simplicity and joy. Simplicity in a way that objects are enough designed - not more, not less. Joy in a sense of sparking emotions individually or in community. I believe products need to give people space to create the narratives that will suit their own lives in time and space. To design new objects is also to consciously allow people build lifetime memories around their favorite products. In my opinion, this is what makes design meaningful and timeless.

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?
TF: I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). I lived there most of my life, only experiencing to live abroad for a year and half. While in Brazil, I was educated and consequently exposed to Brazilian design in a way it influences a lot of my work. I also had the opportunity to work with great representatives of the national design, learning how they work, their philosophies, and what values they carry on as designers. When moving back to U.S. in 2018, I understood that cultural relevance would be a core skill of what I do and my work would be unique among my peers for that same reason. My cultural background was essential not only to build my own beliefs and point of view about design, but also to be able to question my old and new reality at the same time. I was able to analyze Brazil and United States in a critical way, and find solutions on my own work to improve both contexts. Being open mind to different cultures gave me maturity to reflect on my own values by time. Culture is constantly evolving, and I am proud of following it. Change brings adaptation and, as I grow and readjust myself to new realities, I keep defying why we do things the way we do. This is extremely important for my design process in many ways. It encourages me to be more empathetic with others as well as helps me to take in consideration a bigger picture than other designers might have about the same context.

FS: How do you work with companies?
TF: All my professional experiences so far were working as a full-time designer in companies. I started my career in 2016, working at Indio da Costa A.U.D.T., a Brazilian consultancy in Rio de Janeiro. I worked there as an intern and later on as a junior designer, and this experience allowed me to design for a wide range of markets such as transportation, street furniture and appliances. Later in 2019, I worked at GE Appliances, a Haier Company for a full-year. As an intern at the Industrial Design Operations (IDO), I had the opportunity to design home appliances for GEA's House of Brands (Hotpoint, GE, Haier, GE Profile, Café and Monogram) and also be part of the GE Appliances Innovation Lab - responsible for developing "Homegrown" for CES 2020.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
TF: I believe career journeys are different for everybody, so I will share what worked out for me along my career path. I found my most successful work to be the ones which I spend more time listening to people. Listening what the users have to say about their realities, listening to feedback from my school/work colleagues, faculty, mentors, etc. The ability to listen is so important, even if you don't agree with all the points of view. It makes you reflect on your projects, but also to take a stand when you feel right about a direction/approach. Specially on the work environment, one more life lesson was to leave everything you touched a little better than how you found. Even if you are not able to perform your best work for that specific task, that shows how committed you are to your job and how you appreciate what you do. Small gestures can mean a lot to other people. The last advice, and I guess the most important to me, is to be kind. Design is a discipline that deals with humans, and kindness is essential if we want to build a better society. Understand that people have their own limitations as you do, and be empathetic with that. People is always willing to talk about their lives. Once they understand you care, they will be comfortable to be part of your projects, helping you to build stronger narratives and disruptive products. Establishing trustful relationships is essential for the success of your work. It is your responsibility to bring people to work with you, not against your purpose.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
TF: In my opinion, the number one skill all designers should have is empathy. If you don't exercise your ability to put yourself on the shoes of your users/consumers, you hardly will come up with a product or experience that is truly meaningful to them. Designers very often don't develop products for themselves, and we need to embrace the fact that people perceive the world differently than us. Taking this into consideration, I believe that the designers who are able to empathize with users needs and desires are usually the most successful ones. I also believe that designers need to be good storytellers. From portfolio to entrepreneurship level, strong product narratives are more likely to convince the audience that your product is worth money and time.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
TF: Yes. Design consumes time, and even knowing I enjoy the work and the craftsmanship aspect of it, this can be an easy burnout. To avoid those situations, I am mindful on how much time I put on my work, as well as on side projects. I also try to respect my personal boundaries as much as I can and not over-stress when I am feeling not creative. In order to do that, I have all my deliverables scheduled on the calendar and then I plan my tasks weekly. I have found a lot of success using this strategy, since that way I can manage my own time along the project and work around these less productive days. I also think that a part of my design process requires some time to observe my surroundings and reflect on it. I feel that spending time at museums, exhibitions, talking with friends/family, are also important tasks that are not directly related to the work, but are inspirational the same way.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
TF: My next big step is to finish the last year of my Master's program. I'm coming back to school with a completely different mind from when I left, and I think this will be so impactful on my future projects. I have been alternating in between real world experience and school experimentation, and this is something I definitely want to keep doing further. I usually keep track of my thoughts through my sketchbook, so you might be able to see a mix of tangible products and experimentation really soon.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
TF: Both. Generally my professional work is in teams, since my work experience has been so far at corporative and consultancy companies. I also develop projects by myself, but they are more personal and related to my own reflections on our surroundings. Thinking on a way to document those processes and projects, I started a professional instagram account @heytati_id, where I post parts of my design process I developed for myself and companies. It has been a way to share with people what I do and also revisit old thoughts and ideas.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
TF: My next work-in-progress will be my thesis project in Industrial Design for my MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The project goal is to explore how cooking can be an empowering tool to healthier and sustainable eating habits. I am planing to design a product and experience that make users are capable of cooking meals that consider their eating restrictions, but also respects their needs and desires as eaters. This project also intents to promote ways of avoiding food waste and allow users to be more environmental responsible.

FS: How can people contact you?
TF: People can find my work at personal website https://heytati-id.webflow.io. There you can find my personal and professional work, as well as discover my goals as designer and the initiatives I support and collaborate. I also have my professional instagram @heytati_id, where I post some of my experimentations and more details about my design process. You can contact me via Instagram direct message, or e-mail to tatiana.ferrucio@gmail.com.


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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