Interview with Albert Salamon

Winner of Interface Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Albert Salamon shares insights


Interview with Albert Salamon at Wednesday 26th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
AS : I graduated from the Faculty of Industrial Design at Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
AS : I wanted to show people how I think and what I like.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
AS : I don’t feel like a designer - I rather play a role of a designer, like a teacher or photographer.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
AS : I still want to explore and invent new forms of TIME.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
AS : Experiment a lot. Make different things and dream, of course.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
AS : Good designer works with all his/her knowledge. Great designer uses heart, spirit and something “unknown”.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
AS : It is similar to good music - not only a “perfect” tune, but also something significant for now and the future.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
AS : Good design makes life more beautiful, simpler and comfortable. We all should also invest in good design to save the planet's resources.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
AS : I have time, actually, and so I am designing TIME SIGNS for all those who seek something different.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
AS : A wall clock - not only software but also hardware of the object.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
AS : To learn from your mistakes and failures, and to do things which are completely different from design, like reading books and watching movies.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
AS : Dieter Rams

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
AS : I love BOSE products because of the invisibly designed innovative quality of sound and the simplicity of use.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
AS : Honestly I don’t know. Maybe it is originality - oddness?

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
AS : Through handling their mistakes, errors and failures. They need to learn that falling down is good, and the important thing is to rise again.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
AS : I would be a photographer, filmmaker, music composer or psychoanalyst

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
AS : Design is a magic trick. It is a combination and condensation of important answers about usage and production in a simple form.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
AS : Myself and my belief that what I am doing is right and must be done personally by me.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
AS : Failure, persistence, perseverance.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
AS : I struggled with lack of money and people with no imagination, and with traditional, outdated tastes. But these obstacles gave me power to act. That was my engine for change.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
AS : Always through a product which could be put to use and criticized. Satisfaction that TTMM works is fantastic.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
AS : A game, movie or a real clock.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
AS : To expand my perspective, go behind and move the horizon of new forms, be an inspiration and show new ways of thinking.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
AS : Simplicity, functionality and meaning

DL: How does design help create a better society?
AS : I think that mass production and huge amounts of products work against society.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
AS : I am working on a new TTMM collection and upgrades of the previous one to make them the most advanced watchfaces on Earth. You can not only change colors but also customize the types of information, such as steps, heart rate, activity time, temperature. So watchfaces are becoming a very complicated software, especially when a specific model should be compatible with a black&white or color screen, rectangle and round base.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
AS : TTMM for Pebble - early black and white collection. It was like a virgin island where you can experiment and do what you like. So I did - and it was exiting adventure to learn screen, battery, CPU power capabilities. It was like a discovery of a new kind of “paper" and e-ink to rewrite the history of time.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
AS : I think that there will be more design-production studios and small series, or even single production products, tailored for private needs.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
AS : Virtual Reality

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
AS : A year before - one watchface took about 2 days. Today it takes 5 days. The whole collection of 84 models took almost two years.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
AS : I start with an idea. Very often I draw it on books I read. Than I draw it on a computer. Next I test still pictures on real watches and make corrections. Finally, I draw fonts and prepare bitmaps and PDF documentation for the programmer. At the end there are tests on working software and small corrections.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
AS : Do the right thing.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
AS : Original designs always set trends.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
AS : Technology limits design. I need to remember the screen shapes and sizes and battery and watch CPU capabilities. Below that there is the ergonomics of readability, the structure and hierarchy of information, there is the size, position and style corresponding to a user's needs.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
AS : Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and TypeTool 3

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
AS : I design color presets but I have lately discovered that users have such different needs and styles, so the new TTMM watchfaces have color customization.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
AS : I'd prefer that they use TTMM and send me their requests.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
AS : Ahhhhh, woooooow or aha.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
AS : Creative programmer. I was lucky to meet just such a guy.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
AS : Firstly, there is myself, the second wave is users, and the last phase is the programmer.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
AS : Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard and Alvin Toffler’s - Future Shock

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
AS : Just by creating a lot and shipping this to people. Until now I have designed over 100 different watchfaces.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
AS : With Jacques Lacan about virtuality and future of humanity.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
AS : I am not aware of that.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
AS : Black, Paris, Sushi, Summer, Bose LifeStyle series.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
AS : For me design is very serious process ;-)

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
AS : I get a lot of emails with “great design, thanks” and “keep on going” whishes. That gives me energy to do more.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
AS : Not at all.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
AS : In 15 years people will integrate with AI and in 30 years they will release their bodies and transfer consciousness to machines and will start a cosmic exodus.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
AS : Believe in your dreams and make it real - one way or another.