Designing with a true sense of how things work
I was always that kid, the one who disassembled his toys to see how they worked. Looking back, I suppose my six year old self was already fondly immersed in the reverse engineering process and what would later develop into a career of providing innovative solutions.
If you’re too grounded when beginning a design, you chance finishing with ordinary and cliche. An extremely unique approach can always be reeled back in. That’s a key factor to innovative design. A blue sky approach to concepts is where they should be and only the beginning. So then the question becomes: how is a foundation built from there?
My foundation started with a degree in Fine Arts. This was a five year program at the Cleveland Institute of Art. I believe the program there stands apart from others as it first focuses on your exploration as an artist. Building a foundation prior to that moment when you know where your calling and artistic talents lie. It was during that program I found my purpose, within the context of Industrial Design.
My dad was a builder and an architect prior to the advent of CAD systems. I remember being fascinated by his drawings and watching him draw like it was magic, that moment where you get a sense of what’s really possible.
The art of what’s possible
For me, Industrial Design is the art of what’s possible, stretching the confines of material reality. Going to art school was a way to discover myself, yes, but it was also a way for me to learn the mechanics of possibility.
I’m fascinated by mechanics and machinery. It isn’t just about aesthetics. When confronted with a project requiring creative problem solving, it becomes my job to search and innovate a technical formula to be applied into a desirable aesthetic. That’s how you achieve both form and function.
Transforming a desirable aesthetic into a solution of working, moving parts to be produced and assembled. Then there’s intellectual property and patents. Where innovative concepts become a journey into an industrial alchemy of science and art. Without refinement of the raw idea, it never goes beyond that to what it could be.
Before and during school, I worked as a machinist and machine builder for three years. I interfaced with engineers from Eveready (the battery company) who would come in with napkin sketches of creative production machine ideas. It was a bit profound how they constantly sought to improve things, and I wanted to be part of that. These experiences helped in locking in my first design job with a Cleveland product design firm.
They wanted me to be part of their prototype development group, and understood that I had that foundation. That for me, it was about the design as a whole, and the technical formula of form following function. It isn’t about conquering just one mountain peak at a time, but conquering one peak with another thousand in the distance. As an Industrial Designer and Product Developer, my job is to set a course through that mountain range with map in-hand. Otherwise, energies and supplies can be depleted with no end in sight.
Brilliant design is about simplicity and practicality. Not over-engineering just to seem clever and unique. I think that’s why you can start with a simple sketch, the way the engineers did at Eveready, and evolve the ordinary into something fantastic. Something that’s seen through people’s eyes with a sense of wonder. That’s what it’s about.
I’ve spent my career combining my foundations and experiences with my creative talents and I’d love to become your partner to help transform your idea into a reality.