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We Are Here to Create, and We Can Do Anything!

Karim Rashid on the future of design. His vision is huge and his message is inspiring, so we had to share it. He believes that EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE DESIGNED, because the future of our aesthetic world will cross all disciplines so that design, art, architecture, fashion, food, music all fuse together to increase our experiences and bring greater pleasure to our material and immaterial lives.

Karim Rashid was one of the keynote speakers we saw at the 2015 How Design Live conference in Chicago. He is a prolific designer with over 3000 designs in production in every area from furniture to fashion to high tech. He is a real character and has a bright vision for the future. His talk was more philosophical than technical. What follows are the points he made that we feel our clients will benefit from hearing.

(Any mistakes in this are from our understanding, it was in English, which isn't our first language)

Point 1: 2D design is an artifact of the analog age that ended roughly 40 years ago. With digital tools we are no longer constrained to designing in 2D for a 3D world. He can no longer think in terms of flat pictures, he has trained his mind to visualize in 3D, even if he is designing a label. He feels it is time that all designers make that transition.

Karim’s Endles Nile Table (above). He also applies his 3D design thinking and principles to packaging (below).

The soft “blobist” 3D shapes invite the consumer to “live” with the product, rather than just “buy” the product. Below is an excerpt from his Karimanifesto

Point 2: What I felt was the central point of his presentation was this: We have the problems we have in the world today because of constraints placed on our minds by an attachment to old patterns of thinking, which are caused by history, education systems that kill creativity*, nostalgia, and by living in an environment filled with kitsch (visual pollution). Until we remove these mental constraints, progress and innovation will be hampered and feelings of powerlessness, helplessness and despair will continue to grow.

Rashid believes that design – the design of EVERYTHING – is the way out of this cycle.

Examples of how design can change the world. (He did not mention this example in his talk, but it is one of my favorites.) It was the design of the iPod, not the technology, which changed the way millions of people experience music, and its endless effects on the music industry. Until the iPod, mp3 players were complicated and difficult to use.

Karim Rashid design the water Bobble (above). It is the design, not the pre-existing technology, that made the Bobble so effective. Each reusable bobble removes thousands of bottles from the environment, simply by filtering the water from your tap. The bobble “plastic” is BPA free, and free of Pthalates and PVC.

Rashid designed the packaging for Koffy, a premium coffee beverage.

Point 3: How to be inspired to push boundaries and to innovate:

  • Be fully in the world and absorb it like a sponge. The internet is not the world, it is merely a reflection of it. (I’d call this mindfulness.)

  • Continually ask yourself, “Am I designing, or merely styling an existing idea?” Designing is creative, styling is faking it.

  • Perpetually critique your work by continually asking, “Where is this idea coming from? Is this idea inspired, or merely derivative?”

  • Looking at Google Images for anything other than to see what has already been done, so as not to do it again, is not finding inspiration, it is being derivative.

The nhow Berlin, music and lifestyle hotel.

Point 4: The digital age allows us to do more, with less.

  • This means less waste, and therefore causes less destruction of the environment.

  • This allows more personalization, greater varieties of creativity, greater value placed on individuals and individuality, and more freedom.

  • This has empowered creativity because the tools and software – which throughout history were only available to a tiny portion of the world’s population – are now so accessible globally that almost anybody can create music, graphics, fashion, and just about anything you can’t think of.

Point 5: Luxury has changed. In the Analog age luxury was materialistic. In the digital age luxury is more simple, it is immaterial.

Luxury now is:

  • Having the opportunity to do what we were put on this earth to do

  • Having free time

  • The Casual Age

  • High performance

  • To have no boundaries or borders

  • Freedom

“I bring differentiation, innovation, and human needs and desires to companies – all necessary in business today, without this, brands will not survive in our shrinking global highly competitive market place.” –Karim Rashid.

The Point: We can change the world, even the Czech Republic, through design. Design solves problems. It is of ultimate importance. It deserves our fullest attention, from product concepts, through execution, and marketing.

A personal request: If you have enjoyed any part of this blog post and know someone else who might also enjoy it or find it interesting, please share it. We have placed some social media share buttons below to make that easier!

And finally, we would like to know how in what ways you are thinking about this topic, especially if it is different from our current thinking. This help us to learn and grow and helps us to better serve you with the types of posts that match your interests. So please let us know your thinking int he comments section below, either in Czech or English. Be the first to start a conversation!


*In Rahid’s talk he told the story of how when he started design school they wanted everyone to learn to draw in the exact same way. He thought this was absurd and stifling to creativity. Here is a link to a famous TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson, on how schools kill creativity. Or you can watch it here.





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