Interview: Miha Klinar, Gigodesign
What does winning the Red Dot Design Award mean for a design studio?
The awards place a studio among the most qualitative European design studios. It is a confirmation that in collaboration with ambitious clients we are able to develop products with a competitive edge on the ever-demanding markets. Any award contributes to the clients' general notion that design projects are worth the investment, but also it raises their expectations for the future. Moreover, they stimulate the creativity and the project problem-solving.
How well is the Red Dot Award recognised in Slovenia? Is it comparable to its recognisability abroad?
The award is German and they perceive awarding good design from the standpoint of high technological and consumer standards of one of the most demanding European markets where design is involved in all commercial and institutional projects. At the same time, this is their way of promoting their international economic role. Slovenian scene of design awards could in this context be successful especially with an authentic concept, linked with its own social needs which is something I've been missing for a very long time.
Do Slovenians know how to make the best of the Red Dot Award?
We could not speak of this on a national level as the differences exist among the firms. The positive effects of the award are more visible when it comes to changing the decision criteria in the product's process of development and not so much when it comes to exploiting the award commercially. The capability of promoting the successful product largely depends on the capability of communication with the important markets which in our case are not in Slovenia.
What is the role of a good design?
All products are an expression of design, however not all design projects integrate all the contemporary factors of a product. Slovenian competitiveness is based on mastering the technological processes; hence companies traditionally pay more attention to these factors. Harder to recognise and accept are the altering demands of the end-user. Also they have difficulties responding to competition and market changes. When it comes to considering these criteria regarding the product in a more comprehensive way, design is vital. Firms with the management which understand this are more successful.
Is it possible to use design for marketing?
The product or service is the most important element in the relationship between the producer and the user. Hence the global winners prove that the trend goes in the direction of adapting the market factor to the product and not vice versa. Think of Apple and Microsoft in the last decade.
What value does good design have in Slovenia?
We have two extremes. Although very rare, companies which have integrated design in their processes and see it as an important developmental investment do exist. In the broader society, on the other hand, we are not successful in recognising design as a method of solving numerous complex developmental problems. In comparison to other European countries, it is harder for us to adapt to the current development trends. We have a lower living standard and our economic dependence on other is greater, resulting in the deepening of social differences. Hence we need a new production policy which will integrate the competitiveness factors, design being one of them. Research has shown that firms which embrace design in their management are more successful. Therefore we wish to contribute our share to positive change and make use of the potentials which will aid the development of more qualitative products and services and assist the solving of social, demographic and environmental problems we are facing.