Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer id.real ("Id.real") 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?

Id.real : id.real is a team of designers and professionals from seven different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Our team is formed by 16 extremely skilled idrealists that always keep in mind the final user -in every step of the design process. id.real works with co-creation methods and defends that the user is the final decision maker. id.real background includes art, architecture, interior design, product design, communication, anthropology... you name it!

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

Id.real : For id.real, the great motivation is the user. And that is also the reason why id.real exists. Within our work, we want to ensure that we meet the needs and expectations of the people we design for. That applies to everything you can imagine: space, experience, product, software…

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

Id.real : id.real’s DNA is pure design! The studio was born as a co-creation lab, with design as the backbone. Of course, the team is compromised by several professionals, not all designers. But the final aim is to add each person’s own skills into the mix to improve the outcomes.

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

Id.real : The kind of works that will make the final user happier. Therefore, it will depend on the moment, the objective, and the user we are working for. It can be a product, or a space (working space, homes, restaurants, waiting rooms, stores…) or a holistic experience. For id.real the what is just as important as the how and the who.

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

Id.real : Get edgy! Be bold! Be imaginative! Always, keep the user in the center of your process. Keeping that focus, knowing why you design gives you the energy and boost you need. And of course, keep asking questions or advice from other colleagues and professionals. Empathy and humility go hand in hand, and they are the basis of any human-centered project.

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

Id.real : A good designer pictures something awesome and creates this awesomeness. A great designer pictures and creates something awesome that fulfills its purpose.

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

Id.real : We need to consider different aspects, that’s for sure. For id.real, the most important aspect is that the design meets its objectives. At the end of the day, a good design is one that does what it was meant to do. Of course, there are other things to think about. For example, the materials -are they durable? Sustainable? Adaptable? If we choose one or another, will it considerably improve the outcome of the product? Similarly, we also may value the replication capability. Is this product easy to be produced? Will it be affordable if we use these or that production system? All in all, we need to consider these aspects that will enhance the results of our product or design idea.

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

Id.real : A good design is, by definition, cost-efficient. Design is not only about aesthetics and beauty. Design is mainly to fulfill the needs of your user, or client. Keeping that in mind, if you invest in a good design you are saving time, resources and funds in the mid and long-term. There are many good independent studies that prove that the return on investment of good design should be reason enough. Truth is, not too far in the future it will become a need for business to stay in the game. Look at all the big, successful companies out there. They not only investing in good design, they are incorporating it into their daily practices. So, be smart and invest in good design!

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

Id.real : id.real would love to partner with someone (a person, a company, an organization) that is eager to think out of the box to solve a problem, someone bold. All our partners so far have been like this, that’s true. But in most of the cases, the projects have been quite concrete. Being able to design something big, unique and ours -such as Agape and Kebrick -without limits would be wonderful.

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

Id.real : The list would be long here! Again, it is not just the project itself but rather on the people you are working with. No limits for creation, different experiences, and perspectives, a sole focus. And as much time as needed, without hard deadlines. That way, id.real could create something big and meaningful for the community.

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

Id.real : Having a transdisciplinary team with the same goal in mind. All working together tireless with the same aim, but different backgrounds and work experiences. Different perspectives to solve a challenge… that’s id.real secret ingredient.

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

Id.real : id.real is a big fan of the work done by Stefan Diez with Hay Design. This collaboration shows how brands and designers can have a very fruitful relationship based on respect, co-work & keeping the user in the center of the process. Seven years ago Stefan and, the then-small company, Hay started working together on the evolution of shelves design: from one shelf too many, include doors, panels, table... and both of them have worked together to become one of the current main references. Their work inspires id.real when designing a work-space.

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

Id.real : id.real is totally in love with Ini Archibong and his work with Sé Collection. They have managed to transmit Ini’s energy and charm while keeping the Sé Collection style and insights. id.real also gets inspiration of FormaFantasma and it is amazing the association they have recently done with Flos. id.real would love to work with both these brands and designers in the future.

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

Id.real : Our greatest design is not even designed yet… and what makes us think that is great is the fact that it doesn’t exist yet. We need to learn a lot before even picturing it! Still, if we need to pick one, id.real’s offices make it to the top for sure. The space manages to answer all the team needs and wishes through open spaces enhancing workflow; there is a good balance between the work site and zones to meditate and think. Also, the combination of natural lighting and artificial one gives idrealists always enough light to work properly! Everything at id.real has a purpose… even the entrance, where you can find the BeCurious Gallery, for emerging artists. It's designed to the total service of its users.

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

Id.real : Learning to appreciate every step of the process. From the conceptualization to the test and final launch, every part of the design process has to be nurtured to be a success. Sometimes, when starting in the design field, we get carried away by the ideation, or by the prototyping or by something concrete. To really improve, we need to go beyond that and learn to love every single action we are doing. That way, you ensure all details are equally finished with passion, energy and hard work.

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

Id.real : If design was not id.real’s main DNA… maybe anthropology? The way designers and anthropologists observe the world and look for answers can be really similar. Understand how people interact with spaces, emotions and objects is the backbone of design -and so it is for anthropology!

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

Id.real : A process, a living experience. Design is all around of us -sometimes stunning, sometimes no that good. Design is not only beauty, it is also how our surroundings are organized and adapted to us. Of course, id.real ensures that balance in every single detail: beauty while useful, something that catches your eye; and also something that will make your life much better.

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

Id.real : We aim for even higher heights! Of course, id.real’s partners (investors, consumers, clients, users, team members) are what keep our wings unfold.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

Id.real : Greatness is something subjective. Where people see a great designer, we may see that we still need to be even greater. So we need to keep working tireless, always aware that inspiration is part of our work, and that without hard work we will not achieve our goals.

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

Id.real : The obstacles are constant -they do not disappear when you start doing big things. On the contrary, they mutate into bigger challenges. But that’s part of the learning process: without obstacles and challenges, our capacities and skills are not tested. However, one of the main challenges is time: designing something good, meaningful and right in a limited amount of time is not easy. Everyone has a deadline. And multiple projects to work on. So, you have to be organized to be sure you don’t mess up!

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

Id.real : Again, it depends on what you are presenting and to whom. The best thing, though, is to let your audience use, feel and test the work you are presenting. Design transmits feelings and emotions -so allow your audience to feel them instead of being talked to about them!

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

Id.real : id.real is already working in the next generation of products that will make users dare to share, play, create and imagine. They are products and services that may be part of Agape and/or Kebrick or be completely autonomous. Nevertheless, they will all follow our motto: Be curious.

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

Id.real : To show people that design has never been so human. Designers should not be locked in their Ivory Towers, and step by step they are actually coming down from them. id.real wants to democratize design and demonstrate that everything around us is design!

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

Id.real : Adaptability, boldness, flexibility, humility, empathy. The vision of id.real about what to expect from an esteemed designer is that his/her work meets people’s needs.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

Id.real : Good design can certainly improve society. After all, design it is political, or it isn’t. id.real understands as good design the one that keeps the user in the center of the process, that ensures that the product, service or space really meets the user needs, and ultimately (at a greater or lesser scale) improves their lives and present situation.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

Id.real : id.real is already working in the next generation of products that will make users dare to share, play, create and imagine. They are products and services that may be part of Agape and/or Kebrick or be completely autonomous. Nevertheless, they will all follow our motto: Be curious. After the A’Design Awards id.real feels even more excited to be working on these new products.

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

Id.real : Each of id.real’s projects brought satisfaction to the team: the studio has designed various offices, restaurants, leisure areas, websites, and services. Kebrick and Agape are the first products designed by and for id.real, so we are especially proud of and content with them.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

Id.real : After seeing some very fruitful collaborations between big brands and emerging artists, id.real believes that the world of design should continue to advance in this direction.

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

Id.real : It is already going in that direction: phygital. The merge between physical and digital is not the future, it’s the present! Phygital improves the user’s experience while keeping the humanity - design has never been so human!

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

Id.real : There are variables that may affect the time it takes to design an object. It can take you from two months to two years. Or even more. When co-creating with the user, it may seem longer at the beginning: defining the idea it will take possibly longer. However, once you develop the idea and you get your first prototype, it’s much quicker -because you make fewer mistakes. You already know where you are aiming at, and know the feedback from the user constantly. So when you finally get to the launch, there are fewer possibilities to have a fiasco.

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

Id.real : For id.real, the beginning of any project is to understand the objective, why are we designing something. Even before starting with sketches, plans or prototypes. That means that we need to sit with our users, to understand what they need or want, to see and observe how they interact…until we identify the “missing” need. Once we have a clear definition of the challenge ahead, we can start researching, sketching, prototyping, iterating... That’s the spark of any design project!

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

Id.real : Be curious!

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

Id.real : It’s definitely a mix. Sometimes, it’s the trend that appears -sparked by customers or users. They have changed/improved something in their daily lives or decided to give another use to something already in place. Users creating a tendency… But sometimes, designers identify a need, a gap, something that could improve the user experience. And then, it’s the design who creates a trend. Both aspects are natural and necessary, they need to coexist top keep the world running.

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

Id.real : Technology is part of the process and part of the solution. In a phygital era, integration is not only the ultimate goal but the path to reach it.

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

Id.real : Pencils, colour pens and paper/notebooks are always around -that is for sure. We cannot forget boxes, cardboard, odds and ends used for prototyping, the IOT tool to use during workshops (IOT service kit), the walls in our studio,... Also, at id.real we have a library with books and prototypes that may help us find the correct path. And of course, we use our computers, smartphones, and tablets when necessary. We also use the 3D printer to get the first prototypes and test them. As per software, we usually use Rhino, Autocad, Keyshot, sometimes Adobe. Also, SolidWorks and the Our toolbox is full of game cards in order to get more creative answers and facilitate sessions. Again, it depends on many things.

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

Id.real : Color and materials are key elements: they help to shape the desired product. You have to play with them until finding the perfect fit for the specific assignment. The ambient is similar: you may want to design a specific ambient, feeling, convey an emotion. When considering colors, materials, and ambients you are actually designing!

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

Id.real : About the process, how id.real reaches the projects’ executions keeping the user in the center. Many studios work with the user in mind, but the field research that id.real does it’s beyond anything seen.

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

Id.real : This designer/ this studio did their research!

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

Id.real : id.real is based in co-design! id.real is a team of designers and professionals from seven different nationalities, and cultural backgrounds. Our team is formed by 16 extremely skilled idrealists that always keep in mind the final user -in every step of the design process. id.real works with co-creation methods and defends that the user is the final decision maker. Not all idrealists are designers: their inputs and insights are also key in the process to ensure we are on the correct path.

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

Id.real : Idrealists, final users, friends and other designers. To develop our projects, id.real does a full field research that implies interaction with key audiences. Otherwise, the design may flop!

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

Id.real : Lean startup by Eric Ries: it is an inspiration on how to launch a new product, think about the process of creation, fabrication and make it as efficient as it can be. The main message is Don't be afraid of failing if you know how to pivot. Smart Product Design, 2017 SendPoints Publishing Co., Ltd: “Products are increasingly responsive to user experiences” This Is Service Design - Behind the Sticky Notes, 2016 BIS Publishers

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

Id.real : Trial and error. Without trying, testing, and having mistakes it is impossible to learn. Any designer needs to do the walking! It is necessary to work, tirelessly and without getting frustrated. Also, it is advisable to create a good team so you can learn from others, and see other perspectives.

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

Id.real : Coco Chanel. She understood the importance of your user and she was not afraid to democratize fashion. Furthermore, she was not afraid of challenging the status quo and being herself. Amazingly, her works are remarkably much up-to-date, even after 100 years of their conception.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

Id.real : When id.real receives an award or recognition it’s a boost to our confidence, work process, and philosophy. The hard part, then, is to ensure we keep and increase id.real’s professional performance -but that is also the exciting part of the job.

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

Id.real : Again, it really depends on the objective. A good designer may have some preferences, but at the end of the day, it all comes to this: does it make sense? Does it fulfill the users' needs? As per the season and food… summertime! So we can fully enjoy Kebrick meanwhile sharing a delicious banquet with Agape! There are several brands that make id.real brive. Working with Sé Collection, FormaFantasma, Katrall or Hay could be an amazing experience. However, there are so many professionals and interesting brands we would love to partner with that is hard to pick and choose!

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

Id.real : Within id.real there is the BeCurious Gallery, for emerging artists. And there is a collective memoir related to the Gallery. While preparing one of the exhibitions, all the team ended up dressed protective suits and masks as the walls needed to be painted… well, let’s just say that it was a memorable battle of laser swords!

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

Id.real : For id.real, the great motivation is the user. And that is also the reason why id.real exists. Within our work, we want to ensure that we meet the needs and expectations of the people we design for. That applies to everything you can imagine: space, experience, product, software… On the other hand, if we can do it while listening to great music, meandering through The Retiro Park, or sharing a good time with the team then life becomes purrfect!

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

Id.real : id.real has born to become a great design studio -it is our destiny! And we embrace it happily and full of energy.

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

Id.real : Nowadays, there is still a divisory line between physical and digital… in 1.000 years, phygital will be the only reality. The human being will still be the measure of everything, but phygital will be the only way to experience sensory life.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

Id.real : id.real is willing to engage with users, fans, professionals, and anyone interested in design… we are eager to create new adventures hand in hand with you. So, anytime you are in Madrid, don’t be shy, come and say ‘hi’, share a cup of Joe and let’s design the next best thing together!

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