LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Naseer Behbehani ("NB") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

NB : My first dream was to become character designer for animations. As I used to draw from a young age and was fascinated about anime and video games characters design. I worked as a caricature artist in a local newspaper for a while, But with time and experiencing different art forms, I moved to graphic design then to photography.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

NB : It was not something I choose on purpose. It just happened. All kinds draw and paint, but once they grow up most of them stop drawing, I was of those who chose not. One thing led to another and I became a photographer. And naw, whenever I see a good photograph it motivates me to become a better photographer. So what really motivates me is a good executed photograph.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

NB : I choose it myself.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

NB : I photograph people. Editorial, commercial and family portraits. And once I tried travel photography in Venice. Which was a rich experience for me as a photographer and a person. It made me look at people in a different way. So I want to take more photos about people and their lives.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

NB : Other than Learning, practicing and accept criticism, one must evolve as human being to evolve as a designer. Shallow designers will only produce shallow designs.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

NB : I think booth good and great designers can produce equally good looking designs. Yet what really distinguish between them is the thought behind the design. Great designer can produce more meaningful designs.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

NB : Good design starts with a meaningful idea, and ends with a good understanding of design rules. Combine these two together and you will have a really good design.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

NB : Good designs grabs attention. And attention is what you need to spread idea. That is why it is important for education, business, communication between different cultures .. etc. Every idea can benefit from a good design.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

NB : I would choose a village, not yet corrupted by civilization. Take portraits of their elders and print the photos for them.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

NB : My dream project is to take portrait of people around the world, mostly villagers. Collect their stories and put them in a book.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

NB : Design from your heart. Even if you are designing for a client, find that connection between your heart and the design and let that connection lead you.

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

NB : Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon and Platon

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

NB : My favorite is Annie Leibovitz style for the painterly quality she delivers in her photographs and how romantic they are.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

NB : I think my greatest photograph is “Mother Earth”. Because of the emotion it delivers.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

NB : Think a lot and question every thing. The more questions you ask, the more deep your thoughts will bee. And that will reflect on your designs.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

NB : Writer I think.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

NB : Design is a physical form of thought and emotions.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

NB : My mother. She bought me my first computer, and that really helped me evolve.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

NB : I Photograph for myself not for someone else. Design for yourself, love what you do and that will show in your work.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

NB : Can't say there were any obstacles.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

NB : I like to print my photographs in large sizes, which I should do more often. I think physical presentation of the design is important. While the digital era is helping designers to reach large number of audience, a physical presentation in exhibitions is how a design should be presented.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

NB : I was working on a project highlighting the past of my country Kuwait, specifically “pearl fishing” practice. It was postponed for the lockdown. Hopefully I will continue working on it once things back to normal.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

NB : I want to be known for my work of art, and to leave some things to be remembered off when I'm long gone.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

NB : People expect from designers to be honest and to produce genuine art work. And that is what I’m trying to give to my audience.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

NB : A good design grabs attention, and that is what you need to spread ideas. The more good ideas spread in society the better it will be.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

NB : A travel photography I did in Venice, Italy. It is the first and only travel photography I do. I wondered in the city trying to absorb every emotion I can get out of it. The processes and the results ware so satisfying to me.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

NB : It depends on the elements I need for the photograph. Some could take months of searching to find them and some are around the corner. Once I find all the elements, the photoshoot and retouching take no more than two or three days.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

NB : First thing I do, is to put myself in the mood of photography. To get in that mood, I look at other photographers work that I admire. It gives me that extra push I need to work harder.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

NB : Be a good person as much as you can

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

NB : I think people set trends and designs. And both trends and designs influence each other. They have a parallel relationship.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

NB : Technology is everything in my workflow. I am a digital artist after all.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

NB : Adobe Lightroom Adobe Photoshop Canon 5d ii Profoto lights Wacom tablet

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

NB : I try to use color theories in my photographs as much as possible. And I like to embrace texture in my work.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

NB : I want to grab my camera and take some good photographs of my own. I’m super motivated.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

NB : I think it is interesting. But it is importer to find the right partner that suits your style and equally passionate about the project.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

NB : I can’t be specific in that matter. Every conversation I hear or be part of, influence my thoughts which influence my photography.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

NB : I look at masters work and try to learn from them. And by learning I don’t mean the technical stuff only, I watch their interviews and try to learn their way of thinking, the thought behind their work. The idea is what makes the art works. The technical stuff is just a tool.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

NB : Prophet Muhammad. Who would have the deepest thoughts than the man who meet God?

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

NB : Orange, Europe, Fish, Winter, Electronics (Speakers to be specific), Bose.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

NB : It was in Austria when I was a beginner photographer. I was walking between the fields in the country side, I saw a family of farmers, man and wife with their kids riding their tractor. I wasn't speaking their language and they didn't speak English, So I gestured with my camera, trying to ask if I can enter the field to take some photo. Back then I wasn't interesting in photographing people, I considered myself as landscape photographer. Anyway, they nodded OK and I moved on searching for a good spot to take some photos.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

NB : A good photoshoot Makes a good day. It is like having a new baby added to the family. Looking at other photographers work always motivates me. It never failed me.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

NB : I was drawing well from a young age. So all my family new I was going to be an artist.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

NB : I think people will learn to coexist with nature and use technology that is not harmful to it.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

NASEER WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT ART FROM A YOUNG AGE. HE WAS A CARICATURE ARTIST FOR A LONG PERIOD OF HIS LIFE. WIN MANI PRIZES IN THAT FIELD, AND WORKED FOR A NEWSPAPER AS A CARICATURE ARTIST FOR 2 YEARS. 2006 HE DISCOVERED HIS INTEREST IN PHOTOGRAPHY. SINCE THEN, NASEER DIDN’T STOP DEVELOPING HIMSELF. HE WIN MANY AWARDS IN PHOTOGRAPHY, NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY. HE SEES PHOTOGRAPHY AS A WAY TO DISCOVER HUMANITY, THE REASON HE SPECIALIZED IN PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY. AS ART IS ALL ABOUT EMOTIONS ACCORDING TO NASEER, HE THINKS THAT ART SHOULD UNITE US, SINCE IT SPEAKS THE LANGUAGE THAT MAKES US HUMANS.


Mother Earth Photograph

Mother Earth Photograph by Naseer Behbehani

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