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Interview with Mark Weedon

„The following interview is definitely something special to me. I had the pleasure to work side by side with this outstanding designer and strategist. His enthusiasm and knowledge was truly inspiring to me.“

Stefan Hermann

christian-doering_tireless-designer

Mark Weedon, Associate Creative Director of Frog Design Munich, is the guy who brings

“stop talking, start doing!”

to life.
His passion for understanding people, cultures and processes, made him work for some of the biggest brands in the industry all over the world. It is a big pleasure to have him for an interview and we hope you’ll get inspired.

1. Hey Mark, since you have worked in so many countries like Great Britain, China, the USA and Germany, would you say there is a big difference in the way they think about design and designers itself?

My career progressed from a hungry young junior designer in Asia to more & more experienced positions in the US & Europe so the comparison maybe a little off but for me there are two massive differences between the perception of design between east & west. Asia is a vibrant, energetic playground for design & being so close to manufacture means things get done & products produced. As a designer it’s very competitive & fast paced & although ‘Design’ is valued, the designer is often dispensable especially if someone cheaper is available. Cost is very important. Europe & the US in my experience is more about the ‘value’ of design with the pace being less stressful & the work being more strategic.

2. How come that you decided to work in the USA and China in the first place, and how did it affect you?

I started my career in China because my goal was to make stuff & get products to market. The more experience I got, the more I questioned why all these products were needed & finally had life changing experience in a job interview whilst talking about a product of mine only to be told by the interviewer “so….basically you’re designing landfill?” This lead me to pursue a more strategic direction to my design that was bigger than pretty stylized objects with no substance & took me to the US & back to Europe in the consultancy world.

3. What kind of projects do you like the most? Which field fits you the best and why?

As a designer, beautiful objects that solve problems for people are always the goal but they are only strengthened through a more interdisciplinary approach & I think most of the people I look to as thought leaders are broader in their approach to design. Personally, I am a physical designer but I look for projects that have a balance of the physical & digital interaction.

4. When you are a design student, you mostly hang around with other design students and creative people and you talk about creative stuff all the time… But after more than 12 years in the design industry, does your circle of friends still only consists of designers or did you quit hanging around with other designers to get your mind off the business?

I wish this was an option for me!! My wife’s very vocal about the fact I hang around with designers too much & our usual social conversations at the local pub focus around design. To be fair, I think socially I gravitate to people with an opinion & a creative energy, whether they’re a designer isn’t important…Passionate people are interesting to spend time with.

5. Why did you decide to accept this interview and to share your thoughts, seriously?

My new year resolution was to be more pro-active personally. Additionally, I feel I’ve had the opportunity to learn from great people over the years & I love to share…..

intersting-to-say

6. In your opinion, how important is good freehand sketching these days in everyday work?

For me sketching is still the fastest communication tool for sharing an idea. Throughout my professional career I’ve seen both beautiful artists & people that couldn’t draw a stick man! Basically, in a world where a photo realistic rendering on the computer can make a terrible design look great I think the ability to communicate with hand & physical media is still important! I rarely move onto the computer without first exploring an idea quickly with pen & paper.

7. What software do you prefer in your studio and why?

I’m a surface guy so for me I learnt Alias but discovered very early that in the industry the de facto standard is Rhino & transitioned over. Within my current team we use a variety of software but I always say to the team it doesn’t matter what software you’re using as long as you’re the master of it & not working within its limitations.

8. Who inspired you when you were a student?

My journey into design was from a more artistic background coming from fine Art & Ceramics so my influences & inspirations were not traditional. I still find more inspiration in graphics/illustration work, musicians/film & craft/maker designers such as Hella Jongerius than traditional product designers because they blur the boundaries of their field. Also, Paul Arden from an advertising perspective is super interesting. Most importantly they’re super passionate about what they do! It doesn’t matter what you do…if you’re passionate about the subject the results will be better.

9. MAC or Windows?

Mac for Me, Windows for Work.

10. Do you have a tip or advice for all the students out there, that you would have loved to hear back in the days?

Stay hungry & keep at it! You’ve got to want it more than everyone else, Instead of chilling out during summer vacations I spent the time redoing projects for competitions & contacting people about jobs. You quickly learn it’s not about how loud you are its whether you have something interesting to say!

Mark, thank you very much for your thoughts and advise. You are a brilliant example for all those who achieved their goals, by working hard enough for them. We wish you all the best for your future and we hope you will support us here at „td“ againan later.
Check out frog and some of Marks work here.

kolle-rebbe-gift

Special Give Away for all those apple fans out there!

We raffle one rare Design Book „Keep It Simple“ written by Hartmut Esslinger, sponsored by Mark Weedon and Frog Design. It is a very inspiring book about frogs involvement in the making of the apple design language. If you like smart ideas or apple, just leave a comment below or “like” our facebook page content here, to get the chance to win. We will contact you, if you are the lucky one!

 

Winner: HAZEL Yildiz

keep it simple

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