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Q&A: Jaime Moreno

We are living a time of radical changes. How do you think the digital revolution will affect our lives, in the short and medium term? What is the role of design in all this?

The big difference today is the fact that everybody wants to be connected 24 hours, seven days a week, and to share personal experiences through the web. This has reached the point where some young people attending events such as music concerts prefer to be connected and send their photos or videos in real time to their friends, instead of just enjoying the event. Technology and social networks allow us not only to share, but also to seek advice on things we wish to buy or a journey we are planning to make. This implies that the consumer is much better informed nowadays and will not pay more than necessary.

That’s why at present bad products or services are at the end of their days, and good design is becoming increasingly important since it applies a methodology to provide improvements and to bring values that delight the consumer. This is a key aspect because people look for value in the things they buy, and design is the essential ingredient to provide added value to a product or service.

What will be the distinctive features of design in the immediate future?

Design is present on a daily basis in our everyday lives: in our cell phones or tablets, our TVs or cars, the clothes that we wear or the home where we live... design is part of our lives and provides us with a number of experiences. A good product with a good design helps to create a rewarding experience; it makes you feel better and satisfied with whatever you bought. In order to generate something like this through design, it is necessary to know well the context and the audience segment it is targeted at. This is why I think that design in the near future will be increasingly sophisticated with regard to materials and production systems. In fact, even now good design does not only refer to aesthetics, but also to user-friendliness, price, ergonomics and size. All this compels us to have design teams with great technical expertise who are at the forefront of technology.

What are the key parameters of the design process today?

It is imperative to have a good understanding of the market and the industry of the specific product to be developed, as well as its target group. It is no longer enough to design a product which is just aesthetically attractive and operational. It is necessary to apply the appropriate texture, to include an intuitive interface, to make the product smaller, lighter, etc. Without a clearly defined product strategy and good technical know-how with regard to engineering and technology, you end up making something superfluous and short-lived, while a good design will endure over time and break down barriers.

The concept of innovation has changed with the passage of time. How do you describe innovation in this day and age?
Today, innovation is not just applied to the creation of a new product, but also to the whole organisation of an enterprise. You innovate in the service you are offering, in the way you manufacture, distribute or sell products and, of course, in their design. An innovative design is not only one that is aesthetically different, but one which brings something new to society or generates a new demand.

When you wish to design forthcoming products and innovate, what type of professional team do you need?
I think the key lies in mixing multidisciplinary teams, including everyone from designers, architects, mechanical and electronic engineers, to business consultants and strategists. Given the fact that design is a global issue, it requires a team with these characteristics. Otherwise it is very difficult to innovate. At Mormedi we have a base workforce which covers all these disciplines but sometimes, for very specific projects, we hire external experts in highly specialised fields.

What is the difference between a design consultant and a designer?

There is a big difference. A designer will design a product, while a design consultant takes the assignment as a process to help the client to properly use and communicate that design in order to make it more profitable and to increase sales.

How did the economic crisis affect the world of design? Has the focus of designers and design as a business somehow changed as a result?

I believe the crisis is purifying design. At present, whatever does not provide value or is not competitive, virtually does not sell. The companies committed to design and innovation are still growing and earning money, while those that do not provide value or are not competitive are disappearing.

Do you think the general public understands design as a profession? How would you explain it to them? How would you explain the way in which it affects their lives?

The general public has a vision of design from a purely cosmetic point of view. But behind a good design there is always a product strategy, a good understanding of the market, some usability studies, an engineering project... and this is a process that is totally unknown by the vast majority of the public, which does not know that developing a product involves an average of two years of work.

As an expert in automotive design, how do you see the future as regards transportation design? Are we going to see some significant change in the way society relates to transport, whether public or private?

In a few years, about 70% of the world population will be living in cities. Already today, many cities can no longer allow any more cars. They are saturated and have even gone as far as collapsing for more than one day, as happened recently in Beijing. Citizens currently need alternative transportation and to improve their possibilities to move within cities. I foresee integrated systems of public and private alternative transport in the future, with the possibility to rent a car by the hour in the street, if you need it, while at other times you may take a bicycle or use the underground and the bus. An integrated system where the users may choose how to go from one place to another in the city, without the need to have their own car or motorcycle.

Jaime was speaking to Adam Gavine

 

13 November 2014

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