Cesar Augusto Idrobo Giraldo

Professional in Footwear Design.

About Cesar Augusto Idrobo Giraldo

  • Winner of Footwear Design Award.
  • Specialized in Footwear Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Footwear
The FLASH Collection Footwear Collection

The FLASH Collection Footwear Collection

Footwear Design

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Interview with Cesar Augusto Idrobo Giraldo

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?
I've always been an artist from an early age. Drawing and painting have been the core of my communication skills to explore ideas visually. Then, becoming a designer was a career decision that made sense to me because it was the perfect combination between and art and technology/mechanics. Also, there was a school that offered the courses and tools I needed to become an outstanding designer which was the Savannah College of Art and Design where I completed my bachelors and masters in industrial and accessory design respectively.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
My practice as an independent designer strives to provide companies or brands with an edge and a fresh perspective to their products and services. Also, assisting clients with technical expertise in the development of new styles in footwear as well as bags.
What is "design" for you?
It's the thought process behind your actions. The conversation that happens in your mind which dictates your decisions and then is translated into an idea.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
Lately, footwear and accessories. However, I'm open to any field of design. At the end of the day, it's another product.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My favorite design is a product by mother nature: a fruit. I always think that the perfect example of great design is a banana. Most people know what a banana looks like because of its iconic aesthetic and color. The packaging which is the skin is biodegradable and functional. You peel it as you eat. It's healthy and you can take it to go!
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I did graphic design and brainstorming solutions for lighting products at artecnica in Beverly Hills, CA back in 2011.
When do you feel the most creative?
In the mornings I feel that my mind is the sharpest; however, sometimes I have this rush of energy in the evening that makes me go to work. I've learned to channel that energy and work despite of I feel just to have some structure in my schedule.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
In execution. There are a lot of good ideas in the market today that are poorly executed. The outcome is what customers see.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I feel freedom. I'm letting my ideas out in the world and hoping they will have a positive impart in people's lives.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
I've heard that is the closest you feel to having a baby. It's like a parent to son relationship.
What makes a design successful?
It's a combination of elements. You need a strong design, a strong business model/platform and it has to be relevant to the needs or desires of the targeted audience.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
I strive to back track as much as possible where the idea came from. I put on my hat of detective to find out why is the product in the market, how is being marketed
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
We have power to change cultures for the good. Through our designs, we change thought processes. Thoughts become habits. Then, habits turns into cultures and finally cultures are what the world is made of. We need to educate people to consume responsibly and help them make informed decisions.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
Despite of design being seen as valuable in the market, there needs to be a design-like approach in education and learning methods in schools. I definitely see potential in education as the next big thing because schools nurture the upcoming wave of professionals.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
My last exhibition was at the Gutstein Gallery in Savannah, Georgia. I'd like to be part of gallery series where different artists showcase their interpretation of a subject. Place doesn't matter as long as is accessible to people.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
There is a special brainstorming technique that helps me make connections from other fields. This facilitates the generation of far out ideas and triggers other concepts when done in groups. My main source of inspiration is either furniture design or architecture.
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?
I don't have a design style or aesthetic in specific. Most of the time you design for someone else; therefore, you adapt to their visual identity in order to create a product that relates to their brand and customer. I believe in the expression of your ideas and doing anything it takes to get the point across.
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?
I currently reside in Portland, OR. Yes, upbringing and where you where raised affect your designs. It's part of who you are and is part of your knowledge which you use to design. I don't see being raised in Colombia as a limitation, but as a way to approach problems differently. Being in a different environment where I didn't have access to anything I wanted, taught me to be resourceful.
How do you work with companies?
I adapt first to their work flow and way of doing things. Then, I start making changes that benefits them.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
An interview is the worst method to hire a designer. I'd try to meet them in person and bring them to the company for a couple days. This is the most effective way to see how professional someone is. You get to see how they interact with other teammates, take them out for dinner and drinks, give them a small project where they can showcase all their skills and learn how they sell ideas. Make sure not only human resources, but designers and managers are involved in the interviewing process from beginning to end.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
I start by learning and fully understanding the goal of the project. This will help me make decisions that are relevant to the project and keep me on track. Then, I start exploring as many solutions as possible by sketching quickly. After having feedback, I move into 3d prototyping and testing how ideas work as close as possible to what you'd see in the market. Make changes after having reviews and execute the best iteration possible. Then, source and prepare all the entities needed to bring the product to market. Finally, market the product! Separately from the commercial aspect of design, I strive to make time to work on ideas that have no brief. It takes creativity to sell a product that has no clear reason of why it exists. It's a good exercise for your brain.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
My pocket sized moleskin sketchbook, My Canon G15, my copic markers, my french press and a Muji toothbrush holder.
Can you describe a day in your life?
Meditate. Read. Eat. Design. Break. Design. Eat. Reply/send emails. Design. Break. Read. Sleep. Repeat.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Read. Read more and learn from the voice of experience. There are no shortcuts to creating great work. Good things take time, so be patient.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
The positive side of being a designer is that you have a voice either in society or at a company to make meaningful decisions. Our knowledge gives us the freedom and power to create solutions that people can benefit from. On the other hand, designers are accountable for the consequences of our actions. I don't see any negatives to being a designers, but as challenges instead. Any profession will have its good side and a not so good side.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
Like Nike says, "Just do it." In design, that's the most powerful statement. We should test as many ideas as possible and avoid getting caught in a never ending ideation stage. I would rather spend a $1 million dollars in 100 ideas than to spend $100 million in one idea.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Translating research insights into design opportunities. Create the right design criteria will set the tone for the rest of a project.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
Right now, I have my shoe making tools which includes an assortment of needles, hammers, knives, awls and among other items. Then, I have my drawing/sketching tools which are markers and colored pencils. I've been using a source of inspiration the work of Issey Miyake lately. Currently I'm reading two books: "Ayrton Senna: the whole story" and " Buying In." For software, I use Adobe's creative suite, Rhino 5 for 3D modeling and Grasshopper for parametric design.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
Keep a clear goal in mind, structure your time around that goal and do take breaks!
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It depends. Definitely not 7 hours neither 7 years. You can make shoes in 4 hours or you can spend 3 weeks on a pair of bespoke footwear.
What was your most important job experience?
My most important job experience has been related to communication and interacting people. You can have great ideas, designs or solutions, but you have to know how to sell them.
Who are some of your clients?
Olukai, Android Homme, Emperia Handbags among other brands and projects.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoy making prototypes. This is the stage in the creative process where you test your ideas whether they work on not.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
Planning on staying independent for now, but open to new career opportunities if they knock on the door. I'd like to have a space and the tools where I can make footwear and accessory prototypes for companies. Additionally, teaching and sharing my experience by holding courses/talks would be of great benefit to those looking to start a career in design.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
Either or. I do well in both situations depending on the needs of the company.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
I'm working on incorporating algorithms in the footwear creative process.
How can people contact you?
Via email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If you reside in Portland, OR, let's meet up.
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my view of design to the world.

Extended Interview with Cesar Augusto Idrobo Giraldo

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
Completed my bachelors and masters in industrial design and accessory design respectively at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
Lately, I've been working on footwear since my masters is in accessory design.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
Good designers create cool ideas. Great designers make cool ideas happen.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
If it stirs my soul, then is good design to me. If a product performs at the level of my expectations is also a positive aspect that I value.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design is good for your life. A good design can avoid accidents, minimize the negative effects of a repeated task, save time, save a life and make a meaningful positive impact in society.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would love to design interiors for self driving cars. What would that look like?
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I'd like to work on a project that is truly far our such as bringing 4D printing to footwear manufacturing where the shoe would assemble itself.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I enjoy Bradley Bower's work. He uses technology and digital
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
A footwear collection that I carried out from design to execution in only ten weeks. It's not always about what you deliver, but at the speed you can accomplish something. 7 prototypes in only 10 weeks is working at the speed of light compared to the pace the footwear industry operates at.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Read more and make more. Sketching ideas on paper are just ideas on paper. It takes a new meaning when you make the effort to bring them to reality.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I was thinking of being a mechanical engineer, but my artistic skills are already further along since I've been doing it since I was a kid. So, I'd probably had become a painter.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is the conversation that happens in your brain before you make a decision.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
Marcell Mrsan has been one of the most influential mentors in my career as a designer and as a person. Also, most of the faculty in my school as well as classmates had a huge impact in my journey to become the designer I am today.
How do you think designers should present their work?
You need more than portfolio. Strive to present fully working prototypes. It takes your work to a whole new level.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
Algorithms in footwear design. Expect a blog or a book sharing my experience how I've applied parametric design in shoes.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
They expect answers. Either is a new shoe style or a solution to a problem. I strive to provide the best answer I can at the best of my knowledge.
How does design help create a better society?
Good design helps us focus on what's meaningful in life which are the relations in our daily lives. Design can improve experiences where the people learn about something new; therefore, it allows them to make informed decisions later on and/or pass it on to someone else. A good example would be a design stand that provides healthy choices for lunch at a school and students are exposed to what they are eating and why is important. Design is all about bringing awareness.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
Any project where I have had full control of the design process because it allows me to exercise every area of me as a designer.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
I'd like to see more design thinking into more industries and education.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
It depends. It can take from 5 days to weeks or months. I wouldn't like to spend years in a project because the market moves to fast nowadays.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
It depends on the project's objective. Sometimes you don't have to start from scratch. I strive to work smart and not hard, so I do research about what has been done already to avoid repeating work.
What is your life motto as a designer?
"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." - Ziglar
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology helps me accomplish that extra percentage of work that I can't either do or it would take me extra time. I use technology more towards the end of a project to help me execute a well polished concept.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
It's a powerful role. It can break or make a design. So, choose wisely.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
I want to find out who did it and why, what and how he/she did it.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I do believe in collaboration. There is a book called, "The Power of Two." that talks about how behind every genius mind, there is someone else. Designing is not a one person's job. It's a team effort. That why they say, "team work makes the dream work."
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Awards are a visual result of my hard work. t's not hard to be famous, but it shouldn't be the reason why you become a designer.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Color: Sage. Place: Savannah, Georgia. Food: Chicken and rice. Season: Spring. Thing: sketchbooks. Brand: Harry's men's grooming products.
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
This is how hard details and presentations were emphasized during my academic studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design. For some reason, a professor of mine would always catch the smallest misalignment of pictures in a presentation slide. That bothered him... so it bothers me now too.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Yes. I started drawing and painting from a early age. Then during school, I'd take advantage of any art programs, projects or courses. I tried to be the best drawer in the class. Playing with Lego also contributed to the development of how I understood space and mechanics.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
Hopefully we'll still be here on planet earth to begin with... but I hope good things happen.

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