Our founder, Wai, is featured in Comeback Magazine Issue 10 about his perspective on design. This issue talked about the way you see the world influences how you go through life, holding yourself up. It also covers viewing the big picture, seeing ourselves through our own lens, and looking at problems a different way, amongst many other topics.
Comeback is a quarterly digital and print magazine. Focused on developing the relationship creatives have with productivity and their careers, Comeback features stories, interviews, and advice from people in all stages on how they came to know what they wanted and how they're working to get it. Iris Zhou, a 17-year-old girl who sought to find clarity in her own career path and productivity, designs and edits each issue.
Approaching Design - An Interview with Wai-Loong Lim | March 6, 2019
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Considerations of Design
As an industrial designer, I’m always acutely aware that I’m creating for the future. This means not only taking a product’s development time into consideration (typically 2-3 years from concept to market), but being mindful it must last for years after launch. So how products age—and making sure they’re not rendered obsolete—is super important in the design process. That’s why our philosophy is to make products that are: useful, beautiful, and meaningful. These three values are always top of my mind as we embark on every project—and nailing that balance is key to success.
To me, being “useful” doesn’t mean cramming products with every possible feature. But rather, considering just the right functionality for a great user experience so you feel in control of the product (and not vice versa). “Beautiful”means having the self-restrain to imbue products with an aesthetic that celebrates and delivers the essential function in a delightful manner—nothing more, nothing less. This is crucial to make products actually “meaningful” to the people who will use them.
You always need take a different approach with every design project—if you don’t, you’d just be doing the same old, right? But the challenge is less about coming up with new approaches, and more knowing which approach is best. I’m fortunate to work with bright people—I value their input and together we find the right solution. It’s also vital to stay curious and broadminded as a designer, to the point that seeing a fresh perspective becomes second nature. Beyond looking at other design disciplines, I fuel that curiosity by traveling, reading, cooking, listening to music, and surfing.
Designing for diversity
Designing for diversity is crucial for products that need to have broad appeal. And having lived and designed in Asia, Canada, and US, I gained a unique perspective on communicating visually across cultural boundaries. Our Culture-Driven Design approach depends on the type of product and who will use. For example, when we designed Little Fish’s Smart Video Speaker (China’s version of Amazon Echo), we knew the product needed to appeal to diverse Chinese users from kids and adults to seniors. This drove the design from its minimalist form and fabric wrapping (available in four colors) and helped it seamlessly fit into any room within the home. We’re super excited that it recently won a China Red Star Design Award!
See other PERSPECTIVE Reports