LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Mal White ("MW") 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?

MW : As a designer I was largely self-taught. When I left school I had planned to go to design school but discovered my portfolio thatI had spent months working on had had got lost so I never got in and ended up doing night school classes instead. It was the kick in the pants I needed to pursue some other directions including printing and prop design. I then knocked on the door of one of the biggest design agencies of the time and begged for a job. I worked in a darkroom for a year before once again pleading with the boss to let me do some actual design work… surprise surprise, I did really well and that is how I started out becoming a designer. 30 years on I am now working for myself after many years in highly successful agencies… I decided it was time to move on and start experimenting with art.

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

MW : I am always looking at things and thinking “is there a better way” so I guess it is basic instinct. Even as a kid I was always creating things in Dad’s shed and loved the feel and smell of wood too. My biggest passion of course is drawing and from year dot I have always loved art tools and sadly even their smell ha ha

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

MW : I chose to become one as it felt like a natural process for me, but I call myself a Graphic Artist as this covers off a lot of facets of my abilities

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

MW : I am designing all the time, if it is at home I am designing an building furniture, kilns, gates, gardens, water diverters etc. If it is for clients it is anything from Exhibition stands, signage, logos etc. I love the technical aspect of design and am always keen to pursue that further.

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

MW : I believe young designers need to challenge the norm and not be afraid to try new ideas and very seriously start thinking about the future. More so, I believe that these young designers have an opportunity to focus on creating design based around protecting our environments and working in with other equally important specialist groups such as scientists, technological experts and naturalists, architects etc to better this world we live in.

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

MW : A good designer answers the briefs, is pragmatic, precise, and well disciplined in his field. A great designer does all the above but is multi-talented, articulate, and not afraid to try something new.

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

MW : Good design becomes a really good design when it not only covers the brief, looks aesthetically pleasing, but also that it also has less impact on the environment, may actually improve ones life, and may have other special qualities as well.

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

MW : Good design is about saying why should we accept cheap alternatives or rip offs. The world is full of cheap alternatives and rip-offs as it is and we seriously need to educate people on quality that will last.

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

MW : I would love to design up upcycled furniture and I would love to design it for anyone as it would be affordable not expensive so there would not be class distinction.

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

MW : I really want to get my name out there as an artist and I have some plans underway over the next year or so

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

MW : I have always tried to look at my designs from an observers point of view… I am not perfect and I am always learning and that is most of the fun.

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

MW : Phillipe Starck is my favourite designer, followed by Charles Eames

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

MW : I love the fly swat by Phillipe Starck and I just love the way it can stand on it’s own, it is simple but quirky with the face image the surface.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

SITTING UNDER A MAGNIFICENT OLD BRANCHED TREE, AN UMBRELLA OF NATURE, I SIT UPON NATURE'S GREEN CARPET HUMBLY GLANCING AT THE WILDERNESS BEYOND. BEES HUM AND SETTLE ON YELLOW FLOWERS, THEIR SACKS OF NECTAR, ALMOST DRUNK WITH THEIR EXCESSIVE HOARD. SAD THOUGH, THEIR LIFE IS PROGRAMMED INTO THEIR DNA, MOVING IN ZIG ZAG PATHS AROUND GRASS BLADES, RAIN, AND ANYTHING THAT WANTS TO EAT THEM. WE LIVE IN A SIMILAR WORLD... ZIG ZAG PATHS, HIGHS AND LOWS, UNPREDICTABLE EVENTS, CATASTROPHES AND MORE, YET WE HAVE CHOICES AND WE CAN MOVE AWAY FROM PATTERNS, PREDICTABILITY AND RULES. WE HAVE THE ABILTY TO CHANGE OR CHALLENGE THIS THROUGH DESIGN AND ART. NEW IDEAS CHALLENGE THE OLD AND SEED FURTHER NEW DIRECTIONS. HOW LUCKY I AM TO BE HUMAN, CREATIVE AND WILLING TO CHALLENGE, AND FOREVER BEING PART OF THE GROWING HIVE.


Birds of Steel Multifunctional Panel

Birds of Steel Multifunctional Panel by Mal White

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