Nicholas van der Walle, founder of Astute Graphics interviews renowned designer and D&AD chairman Dick Powell of Seymourpowell.
Dick Powell is a hugely influential product designer and co-founder along with Richard Seymour of Seymourpowell. Dick and Richard came to the public's attention over 10 years ago when UK's Channel 4 produced the series Better By Design, featuring the two product designers taking up the challenge of redesigning every day products.
When the opportunity arose to interview Dick at Seymourpowell's offices in London, we felt it was far too good to miss. Dick's thorough understanding of design, the market, working with clients and education allows him to provide essential words of wisdom that are relevant to designers in all industries.
Seriously — if you are a designer or want to be — watch, listen and enjoy!
Dick Powell on Design & Innovation
Direct YouTube HD movie link: http://youtu.be/e4t_a1OKF7g
In this movie, Dick discusses design and innovation, developing new products, what consumers know and want, motivation and more. Dick also answers the core question "Is the pen mightier than the mouse?"
Dick Powell on Design Education & Training
Direct YouTube HD movie link: http://youtu.be/AwSDNKQ2Z4U
Dick talks about entering the design market – the necessity of education and training. He also discusses his own education, what he learnt from it and continues to use. Finally, through his position in the D&AD, Dick also touches on how the industry can help new talent enter the profession.
Dick Powell's Working Life
Direct YouTube HD movie link: http://youtu.be/WoGcShAnFuw
Dick discusses how he chose his career path, having nearly opted for architecture. He reveals how much opportunity he still has to still design whist partnering in a busy design practice, plus how he instills confidence in his clients to take on new design ideas.
A huge thanks to Dick and his team for their kind time.
Relevance to us all
Astute Graphics recently embarked on a much greater investigation into the design market, specifically about the software tools of the vector design trade. Recently we visited several key clients in London, holding interviews with each to see how they use their tools including our plugins, what's important to them and what their current workflow issues are. It's all part of a new development drive.
All this feedback, plus the vast amount more we're due to collect on our roadtrip across the USA in October, is very valuable. But what really stands out so far is how much we had already aligned ourselves with the words Dick so eloquently spoke in the first interview movie. For example his statement that "…innovation is all about what you don't do as much as about what you do do." Indeed.
From a designer's viewpoint, the following statement struck a chord:
"One of the great skills of a designer is being able to articulate the reasons why this or that needs to be done, understanding the business strategy and being potent and powerful in presenting a strong business case that what you're doing is the right thing for that business."
Finally, when asked if the pen is mightier than the mouse, Dick returned with:
"They are both tools. The mouse is nothing more than a pencil, a way of expressing things…"
We couldn't agree more.
Filmed and edited by Neil Oseman