Who inspired you to become a designer

As an addendum to the other running thread about the formative years I’d like to
split the “inspiration - role model part” into another thread.

So, I’ll start it:

My parents both were teachers by profession, but were used to build a
lot of stuff for our cribs themselves.

Role Model one:
But my real inspiration lies in the generation before. One of my grandfathers teached
us guys everything about mechanics, woodworking and stuff. He had a big double garage
at his house and one on the opposite in the garden, which doubled as garden shed and
labratory. I remember him one time coming in, telling my cousin and me that the lawn
mower was shot. We had to disassemble and “repair” it. Today I am pretty sure it was
working well enough, before we fiddled with it…

The younger brother of him was in a league of his own, though. He is aircraft mechanic
by trade, and started to built his own cars out of wrecks when in his 20ies. The first one
was an stunning Fiat Ballila roadster, which he hacked and built into a milk lorry when
the war was over. That lorry ran for another 20 years…

When the iron curtain came down and material became available again to him he used
his senior years to built not one but two ships of completely different designs.

Well. My cousin became an mechanical engineer, my brother and I Industrial Designers…

The difference between the cousin and us was that we found additional inspiration in an
old couple of painters and sculpters, who lived at the spanish coast, near to our holiday
crib of the time.

So bringing art and mechanics together is what I like to do today.


James Bond.

Wouldn’t that be Q?

Yes Q is correct, thanks!!!

Can’t pinpoint exactly who. But it was either Ronaldinho, Kaka, Ronaldo, or Messi:

Found out about ID because I wanted (still want to) design soccer boots. Played soccer all growing up, but was never going to be good enough to play professionally. But I still wanted to be connected to the sport. My goal going into industrial design was to see cleats I worked on in the world cup stage being worn by the best players in the world. And even bigger, more selfish goal is to have one of these superstars players actually know me by first name because I helped them design there own boot.

My dad. Frog Design. The combined design studios of Chrysler, Ford and GM.

To be in the creative field - Multiple art teachers opened my eyes to design school.

To be an ID - Bob Fee from SCAD. Still one of my biggest mentors to this day.


My Dad. He’s an engineer. I loved tinkering in the garage with him on whatever project we had going. But I didn’t love the math that I was told would be involved if I wanted to become an engineer. I was in Boy scouts, and we made a Pinewood derby car together that had little LEDs that we carved into the wooden body as headlights and taillights. Complete with LEGO man on top to drive the thing.

Mine is a story of unintended stumble. My father has always been the amazingly handy type, able to fix anything and/or create a solution for anything. I learned those traits from observing him and seeing that anything truly IS possible…so it was probably no coincidence that when my high school art teacher handed me a catalog from Art Center in my junior year (1986) that I kept it and read it cover to cover.

I took that catalog to my end-of-year meeting with our school’s guidance counselor and showed it to him (Mr. Cook). I’ll never forget what he said…“looks like you want to be an engineer or an architect but those are rare jobs, so you should probably get a business degree”. Sigh.

So, being the average 17 year old I went to the University of Maryland for Business Administration but all the while kept that catalog and asked questions about art, engineering, etc to anyone who would listen. At the time there was no school with an ID degree anywhere near Maryland so I took a few semesters of fine arts classes at the Maryland Institute College of Art and accidentally created enough neat stuff to apply and get accepted at both Art Center and CCS (Detroit).

Once at CCS, an instructor by the name of Tom Molyneaux helped shape my approach to design, but it was my father’s uncanny ability to create solutions that really formed my appreciation for this trade.

Oh i forgot a couple other things…drawing since forever, building scale models of boats, cars, airplanes, motorcycles and really important LEGOS. I also always took everything apart to see how it worked, and then put it back together.

Every math teacher I ever had.

easy… Ferran Adria.

One of the biggest reasons I got into plastic product design is from seeing poorly designed products that cannot be repaired when broken or even that perform adequately in the first place. Poor plastics designs are used that should have been obvious to the manufacturer. Most replacement parts for consumer products are not available, either at all or for just a limited time. Still many consumers go for the cheap price in place of long term durability and quality. Many times that is all that’s available.
For the plastics industry with the cost of petroleum products ever escalating, manufacturers are focusing on plastic product design changes, part weights and new materials as a way of decreasing the costs in their products. It becomes a picture of weighing design, material properties and wall thicknesses that some advantage may be gained in both cost and quality. Unfortunately for some the result is less quality for their product in order to fit the parameters and cost requirements of the “Big Box” stores.
I’ll bet anyone reading this can give me an example of disappointing results they have had from the products they have purchased. In my opinion, this situation as described above has created a need. I believe people ever increasingly desire better products that last and that can be repaired. What an opportunity for the creative thinker! In my business I see companies and consumers starting to demand something better. To pick on one product, every year I have to buy several more hose spraying attachments for my yard use. They simply break and are not repairable. There are many more examples. Hopefully, I will get many requests for plastic product designs that include durability and repairability in their design intent.

Dan Bendixon http://creativeplasticproductsdesign.com

Robert Egger, at Specialized. Also David Shultz, who was a bicycle designer contemporary of Egger’s.

Douglas Trumbull and Ray Harryhausen and anybody else doing sci-fi special FX.

My parents were architects and art/business related. That was probably the bases of me to be exposed and be aware of art/design as I grew up.

However, biggest inspiration was this:

I was in 6th grade. I was walking the same road to home from school, listening to music.
It was the same road: same brick road, trees, fences, stores, etc.
Out of no where, I thought “wow. Every single thing that surrounds us is designed by someone. Whether it is a good design or bad design.”

After that, Industrial design was so attractive to me as a job. I thought it was something that will never vanish from the world.
Unless the earth explodes and everything disappear, we need to have something tangible that effects everyday life.