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Interview with Designer Hartmut Esslinger PDF Print E-mail
Written by Edward F. Nesta   

Hartmut  EsslingerInterview with Hartmut Esslinger, designer, founder and CEO of frog design.

 

 

I had the unique opportunity to interview Mr. Hartmut Esslinger during the Forrester Innovation In A Consumer-Driven World Conference (www.forrester.com) in New York City in September 2005.

Hartmut EsslingerMr. Esslinger, designer, founder and driving force behind frog design (www.frogdesign.com), may not be a household name, but the products he and his team have worked on are. Mr. Esslinger got his start in Germany with a company called Wega where he was commissioned to design a new television. Wega was eventually bought by Sony Corporation, and Mr. Esslinger found himself designing the “mold-breaking” black-box Sony Trinitron TV, which we all know now as the Sony Trinitron Wega TV, and which may be found in millions of homes around the world.

Mr. Esslinger leads a successful, innovative, risk-taking, group of visionaries at frog design, where using their unique tools and methodologies, they provoke creative feedback and ideas with their clients.  They believe in fostering open thinking, and to “unlock” the thinking of people. Their methodology is a step-by-step acceptance and movement of thinking and creativity.   

LEM – Luxury Experience Magazine
HE – Hartmut Esslinger

 

LEM

What effect is the Digital Market having on design and marketing of products?

HE

The individual is still important, and the highest quality is still critical especially in the luxury sector. The internet allows you to do targeted marketing to regions, and creates immediate feedback, but quality is still very important.

LEM

What opportunities does the Digital Market provide to designers?

HE

You do not need mass markets; you can reach specific markets and gather critical information, find products and become knowledgeable faster. Trends may drive a brand’s image, but with proper feedback you do not have to risk the expense of production costs before reacting to feedback. 

LEM

Does your team work directly with the brand and marketing collateral of a client?

HE

It is essential to work as a team and create a team atmosphere for ideas to flow. A brand is more an expression, but the best solution is communication that is simple and understandable. Projects grow step-by-step and require solid groundwork, and a common philosophy.

LEM    

I saw that you worked on SAP, are you looking for more software opportunities?

HE

Software offers the unique opportunity to test various concepts and ideas without the hard costs involved with creating a production hardware solution. With software you need to integrate and keep a balance of the following 3 elements - Technology – Behavior Component – User Interface. Software allows you to create solutions and generate feedback with minimal investment.

LEM

Do you look at a company’s business model, culture, “beliefs”, as well as their brand and product position before accepting an engagement?           

HE

Companies want frog design; they come to us after looking at various other agencies, and they know what they will get when they work with us.

LEM    

What do you do to relax; to recharge your “batteries”?

HE

I love music, especially Blues; I play the piano and the guitar. I like cooking, photography, automobiles, playing and watching soccer and reading. I like to constantly simulate all my senses.

My final question to Mr. Esslinger was, "What were his thoughts on luxury design and marketing." He felt that image is vital for the luxury segment, but a product in the luxury segment should project a modest marketing message.  You should let the message speak to the customer, and that you need to let the customer “feel” the product; he supports simplicity and letting the customer think versus ‘in your face’ marketing.

© December 2005. Luxury Experience. www.luxuryexperience.com All rights reserved.

 
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