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Interview with Ian Thompson

Home > Designer Interviews > Ian Thompson

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Ian Thompson (IT) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Ian Thompson by clicking here.

Interview with Ian Thompson at Sunday 5th of June 2016
Ian Thompson
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?
IT: I have always been fastinated with trying to make things truly better and by making things both by hand and also machine made. The process of design and manufacturing means those solutions can reach more people but the craft of creating those products in the design process inspires me as much now as when I first discovered the art of design.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
IT: I currently lead a team of designers for our Rada brand. We are part of Kohler Company and Rada is our commercial brand focused on bathroom and washroom products for healthcare, leisure and general commercial environments. We are based in Cheltenham but Kohler Company is truly global with design studios around the globe under a number of brands.

FS: What is "design" for you?
IT: Design is the process of crafting something from an insight, observation or need.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
IT: Recently I have been doing some personal commissions in Carrara Marble, it's the first time I have worked with the material and I am enjoying how it can be formed and finished and it's so different to volume manufacturing where most of my work has been.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
IT: At the moment I have two key pieces that I like, I recently bought a mid century McIntosh wooden sideboard which has a simple beautiful handle detail. I think its a really underrated piece, plus I have memories of the factory near where I lived in Scotland from when I was a child. The other is the 50 Manga chair installation by Nendo. The power of the repeated object is incredible.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
IT: I first worked for a company that made store interior products, steel shelving, wire work and shopping trollies. Many of the products i designed are still around today.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
IT: I most enjoy developing systems, where a product has a physical hardware identity but relies on software and even sometimes service to deliver the experience. Connecting all elements together in a cohesive experience is where i like to challenge myself and the companies I work for.

FS: What makes a design successful?
IT: Successful design is something that delivers a compelling user experience, be that though hands-on interaction or simply by delivering an emotion through looking beautiful or perfectly refined details yet also delivering agains business goals.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
IT: I am passionate about insight driven design and employ many innovation methods to drive business growth through design thinking and the development of holistic brand experiences.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
IT: Being cognisant to realise when you are at the point in the design process when less would be better.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
IT: empathy and vision are good traits for designers.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
IT: lots of questions, mapping tools, strategy thinking, business knowledge, research methods, pen and paper, sketchbook pro, adobe CC, Rhino 3D and NX.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
IT: I've learnt to filter and focus on the important things.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
IT: I have over 15 years of experience in the business of brand, product design, engineering and manufacturing development and each project brings unique knowledge and learning. I thrive on self-improvement and enjoy every new challenge that new jobs and projects bring. I like to think my thinking process is one of my biggest strength and continues to grow.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
IT: I am always looking for ways to stretch myself and apply my skills and methods to new business opportunities.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
IT: I work as part of a team as head of design for Rada but I also enjoy working on personal commissions and developing my own design. I enjoy working with people and I believe that the design process is very collaborative often my team extends to becomes the manufacturer or craftsman helping to make things a reality.

FS: How can people contact you?
IT: People can contact me via email - designcit@aol.com or phone - +447859827593


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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