From an early age I liked to sketch. By age twelve I also enjoyed making models and was really interested in cars and automotive design. That interest has stayed with me through the years. I didn't formally take art classes until I was in college, where I majored in art and minored in math. My illustrations tended to be very dry and realistic; I didn't yet have a 'style.'
My company was started in response to a design/invention that I created. I developed the world's first razor designed exclusively for head shavers. From there I started a company and created an entire line of head care products ranging from shave cream to SPF lotion. That was in 1999. Over the past twenty years I have created four generations of shavers and this past year released Aveline, which is a body/leg shaver for women.
My most favorite design is the original HeadBlade because of its purity. It is a simple concept that translated well to the 'real world' environment. I designed it while living in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica while I was working fulltime as an editor for GeoCities; and online company that was purchased by Yahoo in 1999. I left my job when I decided to pursue the HeadBlade concept and bring it to market. The original HeadBlade was named as one of the "Ten Best Designs" in the world by Time Magazine in 2000. It has since been included into the permanent collection of MoMA in NYC.
I've been commissioned to draw/paint and do murals for companies. The first real paid job I had, which related to design, was to paint a mural in a local Mexican restaurant while in college. They also had my friend and myself paint their menu board on the wall; that proved to be an ill-fated request on their part when they decided to raise the prices on the menu.
Usually happy but then I must take myself out of the equation and be objective. I have to ‘temporarily’ disown the design in order to take constructive criticism. Going back to the design, to improve it, is ultimately what gets it to the next level.
It really depends on what the end goal is. Are you making a design that is free or not relying on consumer spending? If your company is dependent on it selling well then profit would determine success; but that doesn’t mean its great design. Some of the worst designs do well in the market because of great advertising; others do well despite a lack of advertising. I think you must set your own parameters in order to evaluate what is successful or not.
The first thing I notice is how it looks. Does it make we want to pick it up or interact with it? Then I determine the UI and whether it’s something I intuitively understand its use or function. Then ultimately, it’s how well it works.
That’s a loaded question! Personally, think the responsibilities are to make something that adds value to the world and makes it a better place. Conversely, one can argue a gun can be great design even though it’s bad for both society and the environment. It’s obviously harmful and a pollutant, but, in a vacuum, it can still be appreciated as great design. I think you have to match up your own ideals and draw a line at what you feel comfortable designing..or offering to the public.
What I like about current designs is that technology, and the use of 3D printers, haven’t taken out the personal and tactile look and feel of products. Looking at automobiles, for instance, back in the early 90’s many designs started looking too similar. The personalities of different autos were being lost to computer generated and wind tunnel mandated designs. Now we’re past the ‘technology for technology’ phase and cars have more personalities. We have learned to make the technology work for us, not the other way around.
My advice to young designers is do what you like to do, and figure out a way to make it a career. Nowadays you can build up your own audience via social media and can sell your products direct to consumers. There are so many more opportunities for artists/designers than there were twenty years ago. You just have to make it happen.
I think one of the most important things is to understand math. There are many designs that look absolutely fantastic on paper but can’t be replicated in real life. M.C. Escher drawings are a great example.