Just something that I want to disscuss about.


An ID department went independent from its original company and this guy was appointed to take charge. For the next 15 years or so, he is the managing director of the firm and does no design work but adminstration, finance, business and company expansion work. So he’s publically well known.

What puzzles me is, why are all the organizers inviting him to be competition judge and design critics in magazines? To me, he’s a business man, someone who runs the company, but not the person who decides the design directions. I question his qualification, and what irritates me is, I see his name on almost every major competition’s judge list. It seems that people are worshipping him or something.

Anyways, this is not in the US.

What’s your opinion?

well, it could be viewed two ways…

…one way is as you presented it. That this guy is very skilled at pushing his designers to do good work but does not get involved at the project level(good way of managing designers). Which leads to the perception that he is business oriented not design.

…the second way is that he has managed designers for 15 years. He has viewed what they designed and knows first hand how those designs were received by the client and their market.

So you probably are correct that the guy does not know process as well, but this individual probably has a good eye to determine what is crap and what is a winner. Hopefully most competitions balance the judges.

…but I know exactly where your coming from and the confusion. The guy your talking about sounds like an expert compared to some of the judges I’ve seen. But these judges make themselves appear qualified on paper, but having known some of them its amusing how they word their resume. Must be a little members only networking club to become a judge, being fluent in design process is probably a secondary requirement.

Well, this guy doesn’t manage the designs projects. The director of design does. He IS a business man. He coodinates the running of the company, setting up new locations and internal management systems. He probably also does a lot of networking too. I’m sure he knows about the latest trend and technology well enough, but I doubt that he can relate to design in a designer’s perspective. Maybe this isn’t so critical as a design critic, but as a competition judge, it just seems that there are better people for the job.

Molested Cow,

I am not specifically sure who you are referring to, so it is hard for me to judge your comments without knowing more firsthand knowledge. Could you maybe provide a link to any information on this specific design manager? You seem to know a lot of inside information on this individual. How well do you know him?

One reason why I can see why a design manager would provide better judgement than an actual designer, is that the design manager has been exposed to multiple designers. He has seen their output, their styles and trends. He has likley seen these styles and trends emerge and evolve over the years, without being tied down to his own specific train of thoght, style or methodology. It is this way that he would be better suited to judge a competition where hundreds, sometimes thousands of entries from different backgrounds are viewed.

Designers are very passionate about their work, with strong convictions toward their personal process and theory. This is why I am generally more concerned when I see designers on the jury of large competitions. It seems that these designers are looking to promote a clone of their own methodology, not judge based on the principles of the design itself.

There are always going to be those that have issues with those that judge competitions, especially if a personal design receives anything other than a favorable response.

Correct me if I’m wrong Molested Cow.

Architorture, I believe molested cow was frustrated how this particular manager gained good professional reputation based on the achievements of the designers working under them. This reputation has brought this manager to enjoy the perks of being a recognized designer without actually doing any design work during their career. Sounds like this individual likes the spot light and doesn’t feel it is important to include the designers who help put them into this position.

I’ve run into this often with marketing/sales and confront them often about their actual contribution to the end result of a project. But talking design to the majority of marketing people is like talking to my dog, they just don’t understand but get overly excited when you include their name…but thats another venting topic.

I think there is still some mis-conception. This guy is NOT a design manager. He is the managing director of the firm. He doesn’t design. He doesn’t manage design. He doesn’t even decide if a design is ok.
He might have done some design work when the company just started out, but even the most well known design ever produced by the firm was done by the design director.

Take BMW as an example. This guy is the Chairman, not Chris Bangle.

And I don’t think I need to include his individual info.

AMP, I am not frustrated about not giving credit to his team. I never thought of that anyways. I am just puzzled why people will recognise him as a “design guru” even though he ISN’T a designer.

It’s like inviting HP’s president as an IT competition judge when he probably don’t know much about the technical side of computers.

The chairman of BMW better be able to speak about design!
Likewise look at Apple–who would you rather see speak about strategic design, Jobs or Ives?

Personally I’d rather see consumers judge design. How many designers actually buy and use the products they design anyway?

…hmmm, a designer that doesn’t use his own products…

isn’t that like a chef who doesn’t eat his own cooking? Wouldn’t trust 'em. After all first hand knowledge is always superior to second hand accounts, if you don’t purchase and experience your own work, you are missing out on a lot of learning.

Not looking to be a cut up, I usually agree with you cg, but I would rather hear Ives speak any day. I want to hear and see the design process and philosophy from the source. Do they think a lot about consumers, do they work more intuitively following their own path? Where will future products concentrate, shoring up core consumers, or gaing valuable market share? Will the emphisis be on more cross platform accessories ala iPod, or further developing full systems? Will they continue down the path of further and further designing towers as archetecteral detail, or return to the fun forms that are icons of design history? These are questions for Ives. I can be spared the mythic stories about the first OS from Jobs.

well i totally agree and understand ur irritation for the above mentioned thing…it happens at many places…i guess its like giving the olympic torch to a celebrity than a sportsperson…but as somebody mentioned that as design is subjective …judgement …can be biase at times …its the name a nd fame of that firm that is i guess the reason for all this …

have u seen such a situation for the first time in ur life…

whatever capacity a person might be working in the company, i think 15 yrs is a loooooon loong time to give him the abilities to judge out and predict a winner and chuck out the inane stuff. besides, having a design background gives him the qualifications and ability to understanb finer nuances of the field. he is the practical aspect of a profession which has ample dreamers. i think it is a factor very much needed in today’s times, when just anybody and everybody claimsto be a designer. it is essential to market a design, forwhich you need to first feel the pulse of the end user. maybe this guy is absolutely proficient in this and thats why with this ability to predict the direction he is treated as a guru!!!

Fully agree with “saloni”. Product design actually needs more designers with solid business experience capable of product judgement from that perspective. Design is, after all, an activity made up of the triangle of Art, Science and Economics, we are supposed to be better trained in understanding the subtlest of consumer needs and desires (thus facilitating the economic transaction at the end of the cycle), otherwise we’d be as good as most secluded engineers developing concepts in a laboratory setting. A good design judge can be someone with a trained design sensibility but also a keen eye for matching designers’ imaginations with the marketplace/consumer realities today. Hopefully, though, he’s not the ONLY judge on any competition.