The October issue of Fast Company magazine features the annual conversation with Masters of Design. Among them, Yves Béhar of Fuseproject, where design brings products to life. Béhar was born in Lausanne from a German mother and Turkish father and grew up in Switzerland. He studied industrial design in Europe and in the US -- there is plenty of inspiration in both places, I can attest to that.
When asked to describe his style in an interview with designhboom, he responded, "the fusing of storytelling and fluidity, where the potential for technology and poetry, commerce and culture merge with the physical world." His favorite designer from the past was Achille Castiglioni, the co-founder of Castiglioni brothers studio.
The brothers worked from the viewpoint that design must restructure an object's function, form and production process, and applied this maxim to every work that they produced. Castiglioni described this process with these words: "Start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means". [emphasis mine]
That is golden advice and the foundation of today's post at The Blog Herald on The Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Bloggers. Maybe it's not by chance that many of my reflections on branding and marketing for blogs are rooted on design. I consider the medium a place where we can create fluid conversations and stories, where the ending resides in the imagination of the user, writer, commenter, and reader.
Design is subjective, just like success. One doesn't set out to become a famous designer -- it's usually the passion and love of the expression that drive the experience out of the pen on paper and prototype to life.
Given the subjectivity of experience design, should our organizations and businesses be created from the inside out, with an eye to the human experience first? Should there be a VP of human design instead of a VP of human resources?
The seven axioms of design according to Béhar:
- Design is how you treat your customers. If you treat them well from an environmental, emotional, and aesthetic standpoint, you're probably doing good design.
- Design must be integrated throughout the organization. Design-driven businesses foster creativity and innovation at their core and reward factions typically at odds (marketing and operations or engineering) for working together.
- Design is not a short term fix. It's a long term engagement that requires you to think about how design affects everything that touches the consumer -- form product to packaging to marketing to retail to take home experience.
- As in marketing or operations, you must be willing to fail at the design level.
- Design must be driven from the top. CEOs in most industries must have a true relationship with, and understanding of, the creative side of business.
- With design, the solution to a problem will be different every time. Doing what your competitors are doing is not the answer. The connection to your customer has to be unique, not formulaic.
- Never ask the consumer about the future. You can ask them what their aspirations are, but you will not get an answer about what you should do. Design will bring those stories to life.
Whatever your definition of success, however you choose to celebrate, be aware of what it means to you and take the time to celebrate, especially when you know you have persevered through personal setbacks. Béhar's success (in style) is based on a work-for-equity model. What is yours?
[Castiglioni: the Mezzadro Chair; and Paro from Alessi. Hand blown, crystal glass, can be reversed]