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Interview with Honeywell Aerospace

Home > Designer Interviews > Honeywell Aerospace

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

Interview with Honeywell Aerospace at Monday 21st of May 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?
HA: This is such a tough question to answer, I remember as a kid I loved to draw, specifically, I was always drawing Dragon Ball Z characters and telling my mother that I wanted to be an artist when I grow up. As I aged, what constituted as an artist changed, and design became this engaging way to see the world. As a shorter answer, yes, I think I always wanted to be a designer.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
HA: The Honeywell User Experience (HUE) team is one of the enablers within Honeywell and is a key driver of innovation and growth. It is through this enabler that Honeywell aspires to be “the Apple of the industrial sector” with intuitive, easy to use, easy to install, and easy to maintain products that delight our customers and end users. It involves a comprehensive approach that focuses on the end-to-end experience (not just product features) and also applies to business interactions and internal processes.

FS: What is "design" for you?
HA: In its essence, design is problem solving. Laughably cliche, but true!

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
HA: I’ve learned that I absolutely need my work to be challenging, or I will be bored. So right now that’s User Experience Design.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
HA: This is like asking who your favorite musical artist is, it changes with the times. So at this moment, I’m really interested in the works coming out of the InVision Studio.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
HA: If I start with what I count as my first “big-dea” job, I was a Graphic Designer for Fender Musical Instruments. My first project was to design a magazine advertisement for the Fender Statocaster. A dream come true if you know me.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
HA: Sketch is a game changer, friends. Hype is real.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
HA: Sunday night, it’s 10:30 pm, I’m inside my home studio, the lights are dim, the drink is strong, and thoughts are uninterrupted.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
HA: If what I’m creating is actually useful, followed closely by the visual design. I’m a sucker for a clean interface.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
HA: Ever hear of the term “Flow-State”? It’s that meditative-like state you achieve when you’re really focused on something. Time kind of melts away and before you know it hours have passed by. That’s what I feel.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
HA: Pride. I like to compare this to hiking. The bigger the mountain, the bigger the feeling of accomplishment when you’re standing at the top.

FS: What makes a design successful?
HA: If the people you created it for actually find it useful.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
HA: I think in blanket terms it’s difficult to judge something as good or bad. With most things in life, it’s relative to the situation and problem at hand.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
HA: Simply create. By focusing our energy on the creation of something new, we as individuals will eventually find a path where that energy can be utilized for the betterment of humanity. Whether it be with a sense of sustainability, biomimicry, or more. As a designer, artist, or dreamer, it’s our duty to hone that creative skill and bring something into this world.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
HA: I believe we are currently in a transitionary period to the internet of things. Sure we have interconnected objects, but that’s only the beginning. Got 2 more hours? We can talk about this one for a while...

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
HA: I took part in this experimental urban art exhibition called the London Loop. Myself along with other artists, submitted poster work that was featured throughout London at various public transportation hubs. My next exhibition? Probably something more local (laughs).

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
HA: Music. I’m a designer by day, musician by night, and that creative feeling I get when writing music allows me to always have a fresh mind whenever it’s time to design.

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?
HA: Pragmatic and objective with a sense minimalist-style. I lean less towards trends because I enjoy a timeless look. Imagine yourself in a photo 40 years from now, are you the cool parent that could easily fit in the new year, or the hype-beast moving with the trends. I view design through a similar lens.

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?
HA: Phoenix, Arizona, United States. This is an interesting question, I think the rise of technology has positioned the United States as a forerunner in User Experience design, I’m very lucky to be within a culture that is currently focusing on that. This is a question I’ll have to think more about.

FS: How do you work with companies?
HA: With a contract (laughs). Seriously, I think your engagement model is subject to change whenever you work. The better integrated the design culture, the easier it is to be a designer. However, designers shouldn’t be afraid of challenging cultures. It is up to you to represent that value and act a change agent.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
HA: If you can really understand the value design represents, your business will succeed. Design shouldn’t be viewed as something that can be simply “done”. It’s a philosophy they need to believe in, because when they do, that in turn will drive a culture that cares deeply about it’s product, which, will result in a more successful product.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
HA: Do whatever I need to do to understand that problem at hand. If it’s user research, project brief, or meetings with stakeholders. Then I do a lot of sketching at first while I’m trying to synthesize my understandings, from there I go through the rather straightforward design and evaluation model of product creation.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
HA: My iMac, Moleskin notebook, Uniball Vision Pen, AKG K701 headphones, and my Fender Statocaster. Yes that is a design item and I won’t hear otherwise.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
HA: I wake up in the morning at 6:30 am to get started relatively early. Either cardio or yoga in the morning. By 7:30 I’ve showered, eaten, and prepared for the day and head into the office. Arrive at the office at 8:00 am and tackle whatever may be on the agenda. One secret to staying productive is that I block out time when I intend to design, this way, as the meetings begin to filter in, I do not book over that valuable time. I leave work at 5:00pm and head straight to the gym where I do some strength training until 6:30 pm. From there I head home where I spend time with my girlfriend, our dog, and eat dinner. Around 10:00 pm my girlfriend will go to bed and I will go into my studio where I write and record music until 11:30 pm. I’m in bed and ready for sleep by 11:45 pm. Weekends are far less structured.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
HA: Get out of your comfort zone. Take the job that you’re intimidated by, stay up late working on an extra freelance job, find things that inspire you and do those things.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
HA: Positive: Creativity as a living. Negatives: Creativity as a living. If you’re in the industry you know exactly what this means.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
HA: “The process is the goal.”

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
HA: In my career I’ve learned that communication is a foundational element of any truly successful designer. If you can explain the thought processes that brings you to a conclusion, in a manner anyone can understand, you’re going to go far.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
HA: ication, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.? Starts with an Apple computer, Imac or Macbook pro. Adobe suite is a must, Sketch and Invision to build my designs/prototypes. Email, slack, microsoft, etc to communicate. I’m an especially happy camper when we’re using project management tools like basecamp, jira, etc.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
HA: I pride myself on being fairly good about time management. My advice would be to understand a task and timebox yourself. Over run with emails? Have a time of day where you check and respond to emails, and only do that. You need to allow yourself a space to stay focused. Apply that thinking to anything you need to do and soon productivity is a natural occurrence.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
HA: Very hard question to answer without some context. It depends on the problem at hand...

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
HA: When will you be finished? (laughs)

FS: What was your most important job experience?
HA: Honestly, my first professional mistake. You learn quickly that mistakes happen and the only way to improve is to make those mistakes often. Fail fast and often.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
HA: I’ve worked with companies of all sizes. Currently I’m working at Honeywell as a User Experience Lead, but I’ve worked with music brands in the past such as Fender, Jackson, Eddie Van Halen, and Gretch. To keep it interesting, I will also take up side projects when I have the time. Most recently I did some branding/web work for a cryptocurrency startup.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
HA: “Actually, it is rocket science.” is something we joke about at Honeywell. I’m really enjoying my time as a user experience designer at Honeywell Aerospace. Solving complex aerospace problems has yet to lose my interest.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
HA: I’m currently working on the adjacent creative endeavor of completing my first album.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
HA: Also contextual. At Honeywell I’m a design lead so I work with quite a lot of people, both co-located and across the world, from various functions. To slightly alter the question, I would say I prefer to work in teams, as I believe the best work comes from a good team.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
HA: I can’t necessarily speak about what’s in the works here at Honeywell, but as mentioned before, my current personal venture is completing my first album. I’m very excited to be making progress on that.

FS: How can people contact you?
HA: Head over to matthewsolis.com

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
HA: No, thanks for your time!


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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