Push from the designer Pull from the design manager



Published by the Institute of Industrial Design as a part of key project “Design Your Profit. Improving Enterprises Competitiveness by Applying Design” within the scope of the Innovative Economy Operational Programme.


PUSH – PULL Push from the designers. Pull from the design managers

Warsaw 2011

Push-pull. Push from the designers. Pull from the design managers
Warsaw 2011


Push and pull as long as you do it together! First strategy, then design. Never inversely



Designers of the Year 11 – they are already in the game Marek Adamczewski & interdisciplinary team Tomasz Rudkiewicz & NC.Art 12 13

Andrzej Śmiałek & Ergo Design 14 Tomasz Augustyniak Strategy that is selling land on the moon Process that is life itself
Publisher: Institute of Industrial Design Co. Ltd, 5/7 Świętojerska St., 00-236 Warsaw www.iwp.com.pl Content-related concept: Beata Bochińska, President of the Institute of Industrial Design Interviews: Hanna Dziarska

15 16 30 46

Competence that is different sides of the same coin

The catalogue is distributed free of charge

• • has product vision • • knows differentiators • • can combine technology and economy

Push and pull as long as you do it together!
Beata Bochińska, President of the Institute of Industrial Design, expert in managing design, adviser to enterprises and administration

Designer manager knows
• • market demand • • competition • • resources

The largest annual conference devoted to design organised by the Design Management Institute in Boston gathers all opinion leaders dealing with new product development. Leading brands, design studios, consultants, management practitioners, media representatives — everyone meets to share specific examples of actions and to set trends in design and the business of design management for the upcoming years. Each year, the conference is held in a different country. Last year at the conference in London, in his presentation, consultant Raymond Turner referred to two business terms: pushers and pullers. The hypothesis, which he defended in grand style, was: “…it is impossible to successfully launch a newly designed and innovative product, if the ordering party is not a partner for the designer. It must be a design manager who will pull the project throughout the realisation and manage it with skill. The era of lonely creators pushing their miraculously conceived projects is over. Large organisations and small companies need the knowledge on how to manage design. Designers do not know everything. They need knowledge and support from the company which orders a design.” To push and pull in a direction selected together means simply to work as a team. Even though it seems easy, it requires a strategic vision, a significant knowledge about the process as well as experience. The book, which we present to readers, prepared by teams dealing with consulting and dissemination of IWP designs, may be the first step to making the decision on changing the approach towards new product development. It is time for a change. Let’s cooperate!

First strategy, then design. Never inversely
Beata Bochińska

This text was already published a year ago in the 21 design stories. Case studies exhibition catalogue. Why then do we publish it again? Because we know it plays its role. Because we want more and more Polish enterprises to implement design professionally, being aware of all its benefits and its whole potential. This year yet another Polish university initiated postgraduate studies in Design Management. It is already the third such department, after the Institute of Industrial Design opened one in cooperation with Warsaw School of Economics in the academic year of 2008/9. By now, we have over one hundred educated design managers. A hundred new specialists who can approach a company and suggest a design-related conversation. We are taking the small steps approach. Push-pull – sometimes we push, sometimes we pull the design trolley. With the help of anyone who shares our opinion and convinced that design brings benefits to everyone.

Every good product is obviously a result of a systematic process of industrial design. However, the creation of each product has been made possible also, and perhaps primarily, owing to a sensible strategy of design application in a company. The following conversation between a hypothetical president of a major office furniture company and a design management advisor has never taken place. However, a conversation of such kind should nowadays, be necessary in all the companies that decide to invest in design. And therefore, the conversation is a must-read. President X: Indeed, I wanted to consult our new idea for market extension, but I am now fully convinced if it should be design, I am not sure whether design is the right solution. Advisor Y: If we are talking about your own product, not a commissioned production, then design will definitely be necessary. What is your new idea? P: We are considering extending our offer with school furniture, or should I rather say: equipment for educational purposes. We tend to think this is a sister area for office furniture, so it should be close to us and the margins are low, so I am really not sure if you can help us. We do realise that purchase criteria in such assortment are price-, not design-oriented. A: The idea seems to be clear and attractive. Shall we then systematically go through your expectations for the new products? We already know you want to enter new markets, at the same time keeping the company’s margins. Is there anything else? What is the expected influence on the image of your brand? Should there be any other positive influence on your company’s performance?

P: Those are good questions. Regarding the brand, I think we could use our office furniture brand. On the one hand, it is good for promoting furnishing of schools and educational institutions, on the other hand the brand will be more actively present on the market. And the performance? I was thinking of using our production powers. We have many new, more efficient machines that are currently not fully exploited. A: We already have a lot of solid arguments. I would also suggest to check the entire value chain: logistics, deliveries, sales, service, research and development. It seems that a well-thought educational furniture project could also add a lot of value in those areas. I would count on a major standardisation of components and processes, while mass orders would lower the unit price. Obviously, under the condition, that you formulate your project brief in an appropriate manner and choose the right designer for the task. I would suggest you examine Black Red White case study. P: What do you mean? A: They use design for cost reduction and, at the same time, for maintaining the product’s aesthetics and attractiveness, taking into consideration the market they are targeting their collections to – mass and popular market. But, perhaps, you are thinking more like Deltim – a growing producer of baby prams. They are trying to win with their innovativeness, however, at the same time they keep thinking about an economical product, for which the parts are used in all the prams in the entire production line, which makes logistics, production and service cheap. P: We have not looked at the design and the designer’s role in such a manner before. Such an approach may truly bring interesting financial results and may result in a lower final price, not only in a better product look.



A: Since we have already discussed the potential advantages, shall we move to the external causes that brought you to the position of considering your new product – school furniture. Could you comment on that briefly? P: I have some comments. Firstly, we notice that there are more and more providers of training and broadly understood education appearing on the market, which suggests that schools will not be our only clients. Secondly, the purchase of furniture for IT rooms and special-purpose study rooms may be financially supported by the state, but, at the same time it is necessary to obtain an ergonomic certificate and a certificate regarding environment protection. Thirdly, according to the results of research we have ordered for office furniture, we observe that more and more emphasis is being put on teamwork, owing to which schools and educational institutions tend to be more and more interested in furniture sets that stimulate cooperation. Teaching style is changing, but the equipment is not. May we discuss next steps in this type of project? A: Of course. However, I still have some questions regarding the strategy. Firstly, I would like to check on what maturity level you currently are as a company, so we could estimate what do we need in order to start the project. I suggest you fill in a design maturity survey. P: Of course. And what does it give us? A: I am sure that analysing the project, we are going to work not only on the stylization of the new product. It will be also crucial to use design for accomplishing the company’s main goals – the goals that we have already discussed, such as cost optimisation, using the existing resources and production powers, using and consolidating the brand. We have to estimate whether your company is already on

the maturity level that would allow you to run such a project on your own and if not – which resources, competences, knowledge or skills need to be improved. P: This is the first question. And the next one? A: We need to discuss how we can gain advantage over the competition and optimise the investment risk at the same time. There are several options, and the choice determines as well the task that we give to the designers. P: I have not thought about that yet. Is it important on that stage? Maybe we could just start working on the project, it surely will not cost that much, we can afford it. Moreover, we would not like to lose time, we are expecting many tenders for school furniture soon. A: I can see that you are determined to act quickly. However, it is advisable to think about it for just a moment in order to avoid formulating your expectations inadequately. Let me ask some definite questions. Should I understand that you have already taken the decision regarding your entering the market of school and education furniture and you only need to identify products’ qualities and necessary competences in order to prepare them? P: Not necessarily, we would rather like to try. A: So it is not positioning strategy on a particular market. Just like the Bydgoszcz based company PESA – you would like to act in the area of competence that you know (in your situation – office furniture) and acting from this position quickly prepare your products and attack your competitors. P: Yes, this is a good description. It is true – our flexibility has its limits. We would



they are already in the game
like to use the already existing resources and competences, not develop new ones. A: What about innovativeness? Do you want to act like your competitors and fight only with prices (like e.g. Black Red White), or would you rather like to focus on significant differentiation on the market? P: It is hard to answer this question today. Innovation is in our blood, however, we are not sure if our clients are innovation-sensitive and whether they would appreciate it. We would have to check it. A: Definitely. However, it would be good to know which area should be researched before we start working on a particular project, so that later we will not blame the designer for delivering us a project that does not come up to our expectations. This is a sample conversation about the design strategy. The publication of the catalogue about the Polish Designers of the Year is a good occasion to think it over that the more important thing is planning and the knowledge of how to collaborate with a designer, than a hasty decision about starting the collaboration with a random and often inexperienced designer. The latter is not the alpha and omega and he will not do the boss’s job connected with devising the strategy of Design application, he will not carry out the research and will not answer the aforementioned questions himself. During the above conversation, we went very quickly through such aspects as: the expected benefits of applying design for the brand, the product and the company’s performance, we have checked external factors that stimulate investing in design, the company’s maturity and available strategies of obtaining competitive advantage and limiting the risk of investing in design. This is the secret of beautiful and eagerly bought products: the strategy of design application first, the project next – never the over way round.

Designers of the Year

The Good Design (Dobry Wzór) competition organised by the Institute of Industrial Design (IWP) honours exceptionally able and professional Polish designers. The President of the Institute awards them the title of Designer of the Year. The reward is a guarantee that the design work of the honoured designers was of benefit to companies with which they cooperated and enhanced customer satisfaction, as they took care of customer needs already at the stage of product development. Creative, hardworking, diligent, effective. Professionals. We talked to four Designers of the Year to show from their perspective what challenges product development specialists face every day, as well as to present the practical application of design in companies. We also wanted to prove the complexity of this profession, to show how many skills and competencies are required and, finally, that on his or her own, even the best designer is not enough. Comprehensive and competent design management in Polish companies is still rare. However, the number of those companies that benefit from professional consultancy and systematic work in the process of design management is growing. They learn how to cooperate with a consultant, such as IWP to use the potential of the desi, gners and achieve the desired effect — higher profit. We hope that there will be more and more companies that wish to learn HOW TO ACT EFFECTIVELY. We wish the Designers of the Year and ourselves just that.

Beata Bochińska and the IWP team



Designer of the Year 2006

Industrial designer and the teacher of design. Aged 62. Studied at the Department of Artistic Design at the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts. Received his diploma in 1973. Is the author of around 200 design projects implemented into production. These include various types of products, such as railway vehicles, lighting and electronic equipment but also e.g. cream jars. Since 2003 he has been the leader of the Marad Design design team which provides the comprehensive design study of products (function, structure of a product, casing, package, informational and advertising materials). With few exceptions, he works in the interdisciplinary teams of whose he is generally a manager. And this is the special skills connected with the team work that have contributed most of all to granting him the Designer of the Year prize. Simultaneously he teaches design. Didactics is his another passion next to design. He has been interested in it since high school – he had his matura exam in the Pedagogical High School. Right after the diploma he won the competition for the position of an assistant at his parent university. He has been working there to date (currently this is a Fine Arts Academy in Gdańsk) and conducting the Product Design Studio. In the meantime ha was also a students deputy rector, the dean of the Architecture and Design Department and also the education and development deputy rector. He was the promotor of over 40 diploma theses and two doctoral theses. He passed his Habilitation by writing the dissertation on the designed by his team control desks of the railway vehicles. For the last two years he has also been a lecturer at the Design Management studies conducted by the IWP and SGH. He therefore teaches the both most important sides of the process of the new product creation – designers and entrepreneurs, basing his knowledge on his own experience of a designer who has worked with industry for many years. There are not many as competent educators as him. In his private life he is married to Małgorzata, who is a doctor of medicine, and has a daughter Milena, who studies law at UAM. www.maraddesign.pl

He was granted the Designer of the Year prize for his whole output as well as for his contribution to developing and molding the position of the Polish design in the world. He has never been afraid of challenges. His series of Reflex lamps was an unusual phenomenon. Well-thought-out, intelligent design, fine workmanship, elaborated detail. We can still find them in our flats and in... Krzysztof Kieślowski or Stanisław Bareja’s films. Aged 63. Has lived in Warsaw all his life. Studied precision engineering at the University of Technology and industrial design at the Fine Arts Academy. He commenced his working career in the Polish Optical Works. Next he was an official at the Ministry of Industry (as a design organizer) and simultaneously, as a freelancer, he designed the lighting fitting, electronics and graphics. In 1981 he received the IF81 special prize at the Hannover Fairs for the Polam-Wilkasy lamps (co-designed with Bartek Pniewski). Furthermore, together with his brother Jakub, he then set up the MASS company designing and producing lighting. But a real breakthrough came in 1985. The designer won a scholarship to Finland and when it came to an end, he decided to stay there. He worked in ED-Design studio. He co-designed the first Nokia mobile phones. He specialized in designing by means of the 3D computer programs. It was also in Finland where he built his home and together with his wife brought up their children, who are fluent in Polish. With the beginning of transformation in Poland some companies started to look for designers for their products abroad. In Finland they came across ED-Design and... Tomasz Rudkiewicz. In such way his long-term cooperation with Amica (kitchens, fridges and washing machines) and Novitus (shop cash registers) began. The designs made by means of innovative computer techniques were changing the design and production methods of the Polish producers. Since 1994 he has made his career in two countries. In Finland he has the MOFlight company designing and producing lamps. In Warsaw, together with his brother Jakub, he has the NC.Art design studio, which specializes in numerical methods and which also comprises the modelmaking and prototype room. He works both for the international concerns, such as Volvo, Bombardier and Thule and also for the Polish companies, i.e. Autosan, Ursus or Gamet. www.ncart.com.pl

Marek Adamczewski & interdisciplinary team

Tomasz Andrzej Rudkiewicz & NC.Art

Designer of the Year 2007



Andrzej Śmiałek, born 1968, author and co-author of over six hundred implemented designs, co-owner and creative director of Ergo Design, lecturer at the Industrial Forms Department at the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts. Before he started his design studies at the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts he had been a student of the Basic Vocational School and then the Technical Secondary School of Construction Engineering, where he became a certified plumber. The last years of the studies fell on the period of the beginnings of the Polish system transformation. Together with his friends they decided to take the chance given by the emerging free enterprise. In 1994 they set up the Ergo Design design company. They were beginning in private flats, cellars, rented garages. They were developing as quickly as the Polish economy was changing. Today Ergo Design is an interdisciplinary team of designers, engineers, constructors, specialists in consulting, sociology and behavioral psychology. The motto of the studio and its philosophy is the term brand indulging, which means not only creating but also taking care of a product during all its market life. The clients of Ergo include Zelmer (home appliances producer; they designed for him over 40 products), Deltim (prams and childrens accessories), Elzab (fiscal equipment), Euroheat (heating devices)), Lotos, Reebok, Ambra, Nivea, Era, Philip Morris and many more. The Designer of the Year 2009 title Andrzej Śmiałek and Ergo Design received for the “consistent, perennial designing of innovative products adjusted to the needs of the customers; professional design process management with the full understanding of the product’s chain of life; passion for design which he has managed to sustain despite the professional approach to the job”. Such way of perceiving the profession Andrzej Śmiałek is trying to pass on to his students. In his opinion, the inspirations for a designer are not only the market processes and the development of new technologies, but also empathy, observation of human behaviours, personal experience. He himself more and more often gains such experience from travelling. Visiting distant and culturally different places enables him to notice and understand unsolved so far needs of the people, who live in different and often more difficult than ours conditions. www.ergodesign.pl

Designer of the Year 2009

Andrzej Śmiałek & Ergo Design

Interior designer and architect. Aged 44. Graduated from the Poznań Academy of Fine Arts at the Faculty of Interior Architecture and Industrial Design – the school with a long tradition of a reliable, craftsmanship type of approach to the design process with a simultaneous tendency to develop the individual and fully author’s search for the new solutions. He was granted the honours degree in 1993 and the topic of his dissertation was “Unusual sofa”. At first he was an independent designer, then he co-founded and was a member of the Start designers team and next he collaborated with the Author’s Bank of Design ABP Wzornik. For the last couple of years he has again worked independently, having collaborated with the largest Polish furniture companies. Those include Furniture Vox, Noti, Comforty and recently Ade Line, and previously also Profim, Mikomax, Nowy Styl, Balma, Ade Line, Adriana. His achievements include over 280 designs implemented into production, the participation in tens of exhibitions in Poland and abroad as well as several prizes in different competitions. For instance, his furniture has been few times awarded the Good Design prize in the competition held by the IWP (last time in 2010 for the childrens furniture suite MEEE) and few times golden medals at the Poznań International Fairs. He lives and works in Poznań, is a father of five sons. When Beata Bochińska, IWP president, was presenting him the Designer of the Year 2010 prize, she argued her choice in a following way: “This designer is an exceptional example of combining talent, professionalism, the ability to create recognizable style and pragmatic approach to the market. On the basis of his experience many producers were building their first modelmaking and prototype rooms. His ability to look for new solutions and solicitude for maintaining the high standards of the production process are the reason why many Polish companies were able to position their brands on a demanding and very competetive market.” www.tomekaugustyniak.pl

Tomasz Augustyniak

Designer of the Year 2010



Design as an element of the company’s strategy is a proven method for success: increase in profit, development and enhancement of competitiveness, creating added value.

Strategy that is selling land on the moon
Hanna Dziarska, journalist at Managers Business & Home

Furthermore, I am of an opinion that very frequently the strategies of companies don’t take into account all the benefits, which a designer might contribute. They limit his involvement only to a certain stage, and don’t allow for his participation in the initial and final stages of the new product development, in which the role of a designer might be really crucial. Marek Adamczewski I will use the concrete examples. In each of the companies which I and Marad Design collaborate with it looks different. The biggest one, i.e. PESA Bydgoszcz S.A, devises its strategies in a very exact way. The company has a large and strong development department, the main designer (who is my former PhD student Bartek Piotrowski), has precisely defined business goals and knows how to realize them. Our team is one of the few working with PESA (another one is e.g. Tomasz Rudkiewicz’s NC.Art). We are included in the right place in their strategy, depending on the needs. When it seems to the decision-makers that we are going to be the best – they take us, when they conclude that the design task should be assigned to another team – they stick to such preference. Different type of strategy can be observed in the POLIPACK, medium-sized company, for which we design cosmetics packaging. Here the strategy is the reaction to the changing needs of the clients, i.e. cosmetic producers and tasking the designers with finding the best solutions possible. We work for one packaging producer, but we take commissions coming from several different companies, which also have their own strategies. Another example is the strategy of the Ma-Ga Sp. z.o. o., which is a small company from Bydgoszcz, producing gastronomic equipment. The strategy is the result of the concrete need, which consisted in using design and the collaboration with us
The price of a well-designed product may increase even by 40%.

Conscious producer knows what he wants to achieve by inviting a designer to collaborate with him because using design is a permanent component of the company development strategy. And this is not about the overall vision of a desired final result, i.e. big profit. It includes the detailed description of the company’s goals, the potential which it has and how a designer can use it, by making a new product/service, improving an old one or searching for new applications for the already existing technologies. Do the companies which you collaborate with have such strategy? Andrzej Śmiałek Many companies are trying to build their strategy on a basis of design, when they consider the development of their products. One of the reasons for that might be the fact that involving design is necessary in order to meet the ISO or some other quality management systems standards. Separate issue is how this strategy is formulated, how the collaboration with designers is perceived, and how it is realized. In practice many companies are not ready for that. It may happen for different reasons. Sometimes it is the designers themselves who should be blamed for the bad collaboration experiences of the entrepreneurs, as they often forget that designing is a team work and try to realize their author’s visions, having little to do with the needs, possibilities and expectations of the client. In such cases the strategy remains a vision put down on paper. The situtation looks similar when the principles of the collaboration with designers, i.e. the guidelines defining the realization of the strategy based on the use of design, are not properly devised. Fortunately, many companies that Ergo Design collaborates with have already devised this methodology, or are just in the course of it.



Aroma French press, Ergo Design design for Zelmer. Owing to the application of the outer surface metallization technology and the use of stainless steel, this French press successfully competed with upmarket products. The main elements of its body have been made of plastics, which in turn enabled to lower the costs of production and increase its profitability. The 310p food slicer from the MA-GA company from Bydgoszcz. The producer has precisely defined the purpose: modernisation. Design by M. Adamczewski and Marad Design.

Delio Prime fiscal printer, design by T. Rudkiewicz and NC.Art for Novitus. Simple design is the result of the designer’s consistent determination and eventual trust of the producer. Initially, the producer considered a more ornamental shape. The printer was in the finals of the Good Design 2007 competition.

in order to outdo the competitors on the market. This is an interesting and enlightening situation which took place few months ago. The company had not collaborated with designers before, it hadn’t been included in its strategy, until the moment when the sales of a very good food slicer started to decrease. After penetrating the market it turned out that one Italian company, whose products at a similar price were, though nicer, of a lower quality, has significantly improved the quality, which decided about the increase in sales. The president of the Ma-Ga company asked us to try to restore their position on the market by means of design. Thus there was one strategic task: to include design into the business activity of the company in order to increase the sales of a concrete product, which we managed to achieve. Generally there is a discrepancy between the actual goals of a client and those which he declares while ordering a design project. How do designers deal with that? And furthermore, how do they reconcile that with their own perception of a product? Andrzej Śmiałek Company always wants to make the biggest profit possible, obviously. There’s no use in fooling ourselves that it always wants to produce something extraordinary, beautiful etc. We have to then consider what needs of a client there are and what recipients’ needs it wants to fulfil. Sometimes the aesthetic qualities don’t matter at all, which can be easily observed everywhere around us, if we eg. take a look at those hideous houses going up every day or those repulsive plaques stan-ding by the roads. This shows that designers have too conformist approach and make catchpenny things. I am for taking small steps. Therefore I think that the mission of our work should be aiming at changing the aesthetic needs of people. On the other hand, in the collaboration with entrepreneurs there is no space for designers going into sulk and showing that they have some wonderful vision of a product, when the needs of aclient are lowbrow. The vision of a designer must be effective. What we propose must result in achieving the highest sale possible, if the realized design project is a commercial undertaking, obviously. We have to realize that our client will earn the most money by selling his goods to those less well-off, who constitute a much bigger group than the moneybags. After all, every single housewife wants to have a kettle or a blender. The cheaper, the more attractive and functional it is, the more housewives will be willing to buy it. And the golden kettle for 100 thousand zlotys, with wide range of functions, will be bought by maybe 10 people. The situation looks similar with watches. Casio or Timex have turnovers of hundreds of millions of dollars, and Patek sells 5 watches per year. People tend to think that if something is expensive and upmarket, then it must bring the enormous income, whereas the most prosperous companies are those, which have the largest number of recipients, whom they can satisfy in terms of quality, appearance or the price of a product. Tomasz Rudkiewicz I once persisted with my own conception. The client was Novitus S.A. from Nowy Sącz. We met in the early 1990, when that fresh company wanted to enter the market with its offer of fiscal equipment. They came to me to Finland, where I worked for a large ED-Design design company. They were young, educated engineers, devotees. They didn’t bring brief, only general assumptions. I knew how to help them by following the good Finnish patterns, I could work on the best American computer programmes. I made for them three design projects, which they implemented using the latest
Design was an element of growth strategies in 27% of Polish companies in 2010, in 2007 — only in 22% of companies.

46% of companies believe that design improves their image.



PLUM tables, design by T. Augustyniak for Noti. The producer wanted to expand his offer with tables available for individual sale or sold with a line of upholstered furniture. Using Corian© was another requirement. Snow shovel for the Maxpol company. Designers from Ergo Design went beyond standards and offered a solution improving functionality.
Photo: Rafał Kolasiński

Fado armchair with a footrest, design by T. Augustyniak for Comforty. The producer needed an armchair for his offer that would distinguish itself on the market with comfort and additionally strengthen the brand image.

Photo: Cezary Hładki

51% of companies believe that design improves customer satisfaction.

technologies. They quickly got the general idea, bought CAD 3D programme, computers and set out themselves. The company was well planned strategically, so it developed dynamically. When after few years I set up the NC.Art design studio in Warsaw, they turned to us for help because they knew me. Their concern was a new design of a fiscal printer. They wanted to have something attractive on a market, which at that time meant round shapes and rich ornaments, and what was then a trend among designers. My conception was different. I proposed a simple form and the materials of the latest technology. Their marketing team didn’t want to accept it, but I stuck to my idea that it must be done reliably, i.e. in a modest and simple way. The president of the company trusted in my taste and agreed to realize the design project of the Delio Prime fiscal printer. It became the finalist in the IWP Good Design 2007 competition, I received the Designer of the Year prize in the same edition, and the producer gained the product which sells well until now. Since then we have made many joint design projects, based – saying half-jokingly – on the friendly confrontation with marketing. We discuss all the time, and as the trends are constantly changing, now, for a change, we depart from this simplicity. Taught by experience, designers know that they can expect the most various commissions, including the ones which ask them “to improve the producer’s position on a market”. Obviously they are able to do that, and frequently suggest original solutions. However, they expect more specified commissions, for better final results and satisfaction of all the partners of the design process. Are the Po-lish companies aware of the aims for which they need design? Do they know why they invite a designer to collaboration?

Tomasz Augustyniak It sometimes happens that they still don’t know. I realize that especially at the beginning of the collaboration with some enterprises. When they start to understand that employing a designer becomes necessary for further development because, admittedly, the technological department was able to make a new product according to the ordered pattern, but it doesn’t receive any recognition on a market. In the course of time not only the owners, but also the workers become more aware of this need to cooperate with a designer. They gain experience as consumers by buying new cars, mobile phones or compu-ters, and then they look at their own products through their recipients’ eyes. It has never happened that after the first experiences of the cooperation with me a manu-facturer resigned and got back to the previous state. Obviously I make one or two design projects or series and then somebody else comes. This is natural. However, in those enterprises a designer always becomes included in the process of creating a product permanently. Andrzej Śmiałek Customers frequently treat us as artists because they want us to give their old product a new and nice form. We then try to convince them that it is not worth producing another, functioning in the same way, but only slighly nicer snow shovel, but that we must focus on how we can enhance its functionality. Check how it is used, what the needs of its users are and on this basis re-define the product. This is what we are just doing for the Maxpol company from Rzeszów. The objective of a commercial undertaking is to bring the largest possible profit to the owner and shareholders. This is the basic concern, though it is often dealt with by means of different euphemisms. The better a design is, the better the products

49% of customers think that the design of a product is important.



Design of the electrosurgical device. The Master of Arts thesis of Piotr Hojda, the student of the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts, realized under the guidance of Andrzej Śmiałek. New design basis will enable elimination of errors encountered in the Swiss devices that have hitherto been used. With the new design, there is no risk of tripping over wires or turning the power off by accident, plus there is no need to carry argon cylinders. Solar collector for cooking food, found in the mountains of Tibet. Developed in response to the initiative of the Solar Power Nepal e.V foundation. An example proving that design is not only about great industry and great technologies, but also about finding solutions to elementary everyday life problems, non-profit too. Sanitary room on a train, design by M. Adamczewski and the D7 team for PESA Bydgoszcz.

are and the more they fulfil the users’ needs, the greater the chance for income, though it doesn’t always translate well to such results. It often happens that the clients are non-profit organizations, and designers work not only for commercial units, but also because of altruistic motives. Then it also results in fantastic things. During my recent journey I saw great solutions in Tibet and regretted that I didn’t invent something similar myself. Those were simple solar collectors, which are used to cook meals, which is a great problem there. Therefore the work of designers, which not everyone might be aware of, is not only the world of a big industry and high technologies, but it also means helping people in solving their elementary life problems. Manufacturers, even if they have the strategy for using design in the company’s development, often don’t understand that in the 21st century the role of designers is much broader and goes beyond “making a nice thing” defined by a client. Design is a creative industry and we must remember that the same as stone, clay or wood are the matter for a sculptor, so is the technology for a designer. The knowledge of technology, and on the other hand the ability to recognize the users’ needs, even those unconscious, is the basis in a designer’s work. Let us have a look at the following example. In the collaboration with the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts we were supposed to design an electrosurgical device, a kind of a modern scalpel, which was to replace the previously used Swiss equipment. After gathering the feedback from the surgeons, it was clear that the present devices were perfect and that nobody expected any changes in the new ones. However, we prepared the full documentation by participating in four surgeries and we found six points which, in our opinion, had to be corrected, as the previous solutions had been wrong and could even be a direct threat to a patient’s life. The surgeons whom we previously interviewed were flabbergasted when they watched our presentation. They hadn’t noticed before that they could trip over a wire lying on the floor, or disconnect the device because their sleeve got caught on it, that the interface was badly designed and hindered a doctor’s work which is often done in haste and a lot of stress, that an operating theatre nurse had to bear 15 kg cylinders with argon. These observations allowed us to set a new direction in designing this device and devise new design assumptions. For instance, we decided to use the solutions applied in other devices (e.g. vacuum cleaner cord reel). Owing to this, our design turned out to be much better and nicer than a Swiss one. Achieving such effect was possible solely because of changing the approach to a design problem. If we had received ready assumptions and hadn’t analysed how the device worked in a particular place, we would have probably made the same one, differing slightly in appearance from the previous one, but copying all its faults. This example proves that the fundamental thing is the clients’ conviction to treat us as partners, and not as subcontractors. A partner, unlike a subcontractor, co-creates the assumptions or works on the open assumptions. This must be a cooperation, and not performing a precisely defined task. Marek Adamczewski The clients whom I have are generally the people who know what they have come for. However, there used to be a few misunderstandings in my life, when the person who came had the vision that design is a picture, on which there is depicted a product. When I quoted the initial price, which is the starting point to talk about the project, I heard that a student could make such picture for 300 zlotys. That is true, but then a producer will only get a picture and he must do the rest himself... And when he orders a design project, he has all the problems, including
44% of Polish companies believe that design increases competitiveness.

80% of Polish companies think that they render high-quality services. 8% of Polish consumers think that companies render high-quality services.

70% of Polish companies believe that it is profitable to invest in design.



Tess office furniture designed by T. Augustyniak. Furniture producer – Fabryka Mebli Biurowych Mikomax – requested the design of an office furniture set which would increase workplace functionality.

One of the concepts for a new Dr Irena Eris cream jar. Design by M. Adamczewski and Marad Design. X-lander stroller, produced by Deltim. The brand was created by the Ergo Design studio for parents who do not want to give up an active lifestyle after the birth of a child.

the technological ones, solved. There are still many companies which don’t understand what a design project is, and they get indignant when they hear its price. With the next projects it gets easier because the clients already know what they pay for and what they receive. Design translates into the market success of not only a product itself, but also a brand. Do companies knowingly build their brand on the basis of design? Marek Adamczewski I remember the situation which took place thirty years ago or so. The Sony company changed its strategy and in the budget for new implementations increased the amount allocated for design from 7 to 40%. The quality of the TV sets produced by few competing companies was equally good, and thanks to the design the Sony TV sets immediately started to be distinguishable on the market, which enabled the change of the price. Pure design brought a massive profit. Andrzej Śmiałek Many of our clients were building their brands on the basis of design, knowingly collaborating with a design company. Even if the strategy of a consumer brand is to be the cheapest on a market, it must include design in its realities because it must reach the recipients in an apprehensible way, it must communicate with them. Each brand should take it into consideration, otherwise it loses its identity. Ergo too creates brands for its customers. For instance, for the producer of strollers Deltim we made two and we manage all the sphere of their visual communication, identity, collection of products and their development. First, at this producer’s request, we designed a very interesting stroller for the discovered by us group

of parents, who don’t stop being active after the birth of their child, don’t give up their previous lifestyle, take their child with them when they go into the mountains, go sailing or go abroad. It turned out that the stroller did not fit the image of the brand at that particular time and that placing it there would probably not end up well either for the brand, or for the product. It was simply mismatched, intended for a different recipient. In this way we created the X-lander brand – for active people, resembling a sport equipment, of outdoor type, looking more like a rucksack than like an ellegant suitcase. Apart from strollers it consists of the whole range products, whose production takes into consideration the needs of recipients. In its category it is perhaps one of the most successful on the Polish market, it also sells well abroad. The role of a designer in creating the brands is tremendous since products must keep the promises of the particular brand. Interface too is extremely important as a means of communication between a brand and a customer. It constitutes the whole framing, the “face” of a brand. Tomasz Rudkiewicz There is no brand without design. However, I believe that good brand means good products – aesthetic, comfortable, safe, innovative and being in demand by the society. I believe that good brand doesn’t treat design solely as a tool bringing profit. I believe in mission. You mentioned that the Polish companies, even those which have design included in their strategy and which collaborate with designers, don’t fully use their skills and experience. Can’t they see their role in the full process of a product development? Why is it worth changing it and how can we do that?

Photo: Rafał Kolasiński

In 2008, thanks to design, among other factors, the value of the following Polish brands increased: Black Red White by 13% Zelmer by 71% Paradyż by 160%
Source: “Rzeczpospolita”, ranking of 2009.



Interior design of a new Inter City train. Design by M. Adamczewski and Marad Design. The cooperation was interrupted.

Tomasz Augustyniak I think that too often the role of a designer ends after designing and implementing a product. A designer did his part and he is not formally invited to the further collaboration with the marketing or promotion department. Which doesn’t mean that there are no expectations for his further ideas. Since he has made a design project, he cares for a product to sell well, thus it is clear that he will not refuse. However, this is not fair, as it is hard to work for free. The scope of a contract is too narrow in this situation, therefore it is advisable to sign another one, which will comprise the sequel of the collaboration, if there is such a need. And generally there is. The very experience itself, stemming from the design process, suggests the solutions, such as, for instance, how to promote a product on a market by spreading the reliable and complete information about it. It’s the author of a design that knows the best what he has designed. Andrzej Śmiałek I confirm. The companies use designers as a promotional tool to a lesser extent. They often refer to our opinion, but this is not any concrete strategy. It would be better if they built their market position basing on the brand recognition, as they do it all over the world. For example, we know who designs Alfa Romeo and this is the strategy of a company. Italian designers show a designer as a creator, and a product itself is promoted as a work of art, an object of desire. The Germans, on the other hand, are more concerned about perfection – a product has to be immaculately designed, and it is less important by whom. I think that the character of the cooperation with designers should depend on how a company defines itself on a market. Whether the products which it offers are special, for special people, fulfil the special needs, or whether they are simply supposed to function properly by fulfilling different needs, depending on who the recipients are. All this depends on a company’s strategy. Owing to the design experience gained over many years, we have managed to gather certain knowledge of the market. Ha-ving moved among a producer, market and a consumer we have learnt, how each of these links functions. Having designed for different branches and different producers, who sell various products in many various ways, we often have much broader perspective to a posed problem than them. On such basis we can therefore always propose something interesting, adequate for the needs of a particular producer. There is also another thing. The companies generally allocate very few funds for the research and development, tests, trials, searching for new solutions. The companies’ main concern is generally to implement the production as quickly as possible and by using the easiest possible methods. Then the role of a designer is narrowed down, and his abilities not used. People in Poland tend to think that it is best to commission something to a student because he will do it for free. There is no common awareness that designing is an investment, and when going into a deeper cooperation with a designer, we must treat it as an investment which is costly, but profitable. If a producer treats designing as an expense, and not as an investment, he will want to reduce it.
Only 19% of companies conduct market research when working on a new product.

51% of Polish entrepreneurs think that the value of expenditures on design is lower than the value of the benefits connected with such an investment. 14% claim that the value of those benefits is several times greater.



From reports
Assessment of the role of industrial design in a company in the new product development process 2007 – 2009 (N=280)
22% 54% 15% 7% 2% crucial important of little importance of no importance hard to say

76% of the Polish entrepreneurs say that design plays an important (54%) or crucial (22%) role in the new product development process. In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the importance of design. In 2010, 22% of respondents recognized the role of design as crucial for the new product development process, as contrasted with 15% in 2007.

Classification of Polish companies according to the design application methods (N=280)

We advise

28% 14% 26% 27% 5%

design is not used by the company on a systematic basis design is used by the company at the final stage of the product development process design is an indispensible but not a key element of the product development process design is a management tool used by the company on a daily basis and has a clearly strategic value for its development I don’t know

The number of companies where design is an integral part of development strategy has grown recently. In 2010, design was an element of the business development strategy for 27% of respondents, as contrasted with 22% in 2007.

Based on IWP reports: 1. „Potrzeby, kompetencje i efektywność w zakresie wykorzystania wzornictwa przemysłowego w polskich przedsiębiorstwach”, 2011; 2. ”An analysis of the application of industrial design in Polish companies”, 2007 (for Ministry of Economy).




The process of creating a new product is a set of coordinated actions taken in order to produce a particular product or provide a particular service, therefore including: preparing a brief, the choice of a designer, designing, prototypes, production, promotion, distribution.

Process that is life itself

A sofa from the Badu line, design by T. Augustyniak for Comforty. The design was to signal the new brand image on the verge of rebranding. The choice of the designer was obvious for the company – it resulted from a long cooperation and trust in his talent.

For a company it isn’t of no importance what designer it begins to cooperate with. Everybody has their own specializations, another wealth of experience, another aesthetic sensibility. How to know who would be the most suitable designer for a particular design project? What criteria to follow? Where to look for? How is the producers’ knowledge of this area evaluated by designers themselves? Tomasz Augustyniak Where to look for? The designers and companies generally have their own websites. That’s obvious. The passivity of many producers stems rather from the fear of something new, something what they haven’t done before. They don’t know what they can expect from such collaboration, they are afraid of problems, commotion, the costs, which are commonly considered as very high and because of which they frequently decide not to contact a designer at all. Even if they agree to do that, they prefer to invite the design graduates or students to participate in a competition, promising to implement the winner product. In most cases it comes to nothing, it discourages young designers at the start, and only confirms producers’ misconception that it wasn’t worth starting. Apart from the very design of a new product, the collaboration with a designer can bring in other values to a company. On the top of those which have already been mentioned, they also include the inspiration for implementing new technologies, the knowledge of customer expectations or the means of reaching the new groups of recipients. Furthermore, a designer who often succeeds is also often presented in different types media. The producer has therefore, somehow accidentally, guaranteed promotion of his products, company, brand. Obviously it does matter who is going to be commissioned a design project. A designer is not a regular service provider, like somebody who supplies a factory with bottle caps, and it will not do, if he is cheap. What matters here is not only the drawing skills, but also the ability to collaborate, the experience in a particular brand, the way of functioning on a market. The thing is that a person who does such evaluation must be familiar with this matter himself. Or he can use some professional advice. Marek Adamczewski There are few verified sources of knowledge of designers. These include, above all, personal contacts, IWP Internet, publications. There is not , such a big number of designers who do industrial design, i.e. work for industry, and almost all of us know one another, so the people looking for a contact will always come to one of us, and we suggest who they should turn to with a particular problem. The source through which I received many important commissions is also the Fine Arts Academy. In all our art schools there is a design department and this is a natural place for everybody looking for a contact to come and ask. Andrzej Śmiałek Once acquired client, if he is content and sees the sense of cooperating with designers, is no longer able to imagine another path of development. Who is an industrial designer nowadays – an artist, craftsman, creator of the new quality of life? Tomasz Augustyniak He can be each of them individually or all of them simultaneously. Designing cannot always be clearly defined as a field of fashion or hard engineering or analytical work. These worlds strongly intermingle with one another, as it is in all fields of work. There are individual designers, who design unique objects for the recipients searching for special, extraordinary things. In that case they
Information on Polish designers: www.slownikprojektantow.pl



Polam-Wilkasy system lamp, T. Rudkiewicz and B. Pniewski design, awarded at the Gute Industrie Form ’81 in Hannover. These lamps were the breath of fresh air in the Polish mediocrity, and for T. Rudkiewicz the became the beginning of his way to freedom.
Mono chaise lounge, design by T. Augustyniak for Comforty, with its exceptionally original form and perfect finishing, it became one of the icons of Polish modern design. Daily arrangement of a sleeping car – new quality of space; design by M. Adamczewski and Marad Design for PESA Bydgoszcz.

Photo: Rafał Kolasiński

are rather placed in the world of art, show business and media, and not of industrial design, though it sometimes happens that one thing doesn’t exclude another. In the West the profession of a designer is highly valued. There the stars of design are perceived not only as the creators of upmarket products, but also as the creators of new reality, new surroundings, new world of users. Nowadays we can speak about designing everything – objects, food, services, architecture, visual identification, IT etc. In Poland the concept of design is getting more and more popular, but it often drifts away from its essence, appropriated by marketing and fashion. Marek Adamczewski The most important motto which is displayed in my studio is borrowed from László Moholy-Nagy from Bauhaus, who said one hundred years ago that it is not a product but a man, who is an aim. It has accompanied me through all my life and I always refer to it when I look at my work and the tasks of a designer. Most of all, this is a humanistic profession. All the effective designers possess great knowledge, which they combine with experience, intuition, and, I will say it in a highflown way, the sense of mission. A designer watches over the interests of a final user, which is also in the interest of the company that he works for because only then a product will sell well. A designer must be effective, in a way that a manufacturer must earn by employing him because otherwise he will never come again and will tell others not to come as well. We are often able to discover the previously unnoticed needs of people. We often detect the functional faults present in already existing objects, owing to which it becomes possible to repair them and thus enhance the quality of life. Each designer may call up such examples. We once paid attention to the almost unimaginable ergonomic mistakes in the construction of a certain device, which hadn’t been noticed

by its manufacturer for years. It was enough to change the angle of one handle to enhance the comfort of work and to reduce the effort. Our work enabled the improvement of a product’s quality and enhancement of the comfort of a worker using it. Andrzej Śmiałek I don’t feel an artist and I don’t perceive my job as something special. This is just my work. In the past we were treated as artists, besides, there are still many who think so. Nowadays design is a very broad and multi-layered discipline, comprising various fields of life and production – from strictly artistic unique objects, treated as an applied art, to designing complicated processes and translating them into a consumer language. In between these extreme poles there are obviously also other variants of doing design. More and more things are realized in teams and it’s hard to indicate their author. For example iPhone – at first the complicated technology was devised, then the needs, which could be fulfilled by means of it, were discovered, and only then was the creation process supported by engineers, designers, thanks to whom the beautiful devices with an amazing interface were created. Even contemporary Leonardo da Vinci wouldn’t be able to make the iPhone himself – it was made by the army of creative people. Owing to new technologies, which were turned by designers into devices, our life looks different. We don’t know the names of the designers who made them, and we know the name of somebody who invented a beautiful, though in this context useless, lemon press. Both of them are design, but the former, its existence, has an influence over the development and evolution, over the quality and comfort of life of different societies, over the progress of civilization, and the latter – looks nice on exhibitions, is shown in the newspapers, is bought, though it doesn’t basically change the life of the users. In Poland we don’t have high technologies, we don’t have the money for the research

In Poland, there are 5 – 7 thousand designers active in various fields. In the UK, in 2009, there were around 232 thousand designers.
Sources: Report of the Association of Industrial Designers, ordered by BEDA in 2009; ”Design Industry Research 2010”, Design Council.



Mixer 481, design by Ergo Design for Zelmer. Produced since 2009, the successor of the popular 480 version. The open handle improves ergonomics and makes it easier to manoeuvre; the head of the stand drive was redesigned, enabling the mixer’s swinging motion and the rotary motion of the bowl – these are just some of the innovations.

Horse trailer, design by T. Rudkiewicz and NC.Art, producer Brenderup, group Thule.

and development. The companies are trying to compete by means of a price and aesthetics of a product. They are building brands, but these are not the brands giving the new directions for the development of a contemporary civilization. We are just moving within the bounds of a nicer kettle, a more comfortable chair, a more functional device. My previous career and the activity of our company are subordinate to the needs of our customers, who want to launch a new product or service. We must understand this need, and, taking into account their capabilities, refer it in a creative way to the needs and expectations of an end user. The area of our activity is therefore determined by the need of our client, i.e. investor, and not by our own ambitions. Tomasz Rudkiewicz The class of a designer, who he is, can be told by looking at the shop display, and not by attending the exhibition of a gallery. In our profession the priority is to make producers want to come to us and be aware that owing to that they will be producing better things, meeting the needs of the recipients. The man is an aim. Having worked in Finland for many years, I learned how design systemically works in that economy. I am fascinated, both by the very Scandinavian design itself – which grew in those realities: of raw nature, difficult historical background, good craftsmanship, increasingly better level of technology – and the mechanisms of its implementation into the industry, which we must only activate. Design brief is the basis of a designer joining the design project. It should include the possibly precisely defined requirements, stemming from the needs of a manufacturer, and the recognition of the situation on a market. Can our companies write briefs? What briefs do designers dream about?

Andrzej Śmiałek It is hard to answer this question not to sound ambiguous. Some entrepreneurs send their brief to five designers/design companies with the confidentiality clause and expect the evaluation, without even a meeting. We often participate in it, but it is not a challenge for us. In our opinion, in such way we cannot use all the potential lying in designers. This is rather a competition for the best price or a beauty contest for different designs. We are trying to convince our clients to at least try to build the assumptions of the design project together with us. However, it is generally made by the marketing department of a client, and a designer receives ready assumptions, i.e. ready proposition of the solutions, which he must only dress in a nice form. Very rarely do designers receive an open brief, which says which need of the users they are supposed to fulfil – bond, prestige, comfort etc. – and thus gives us the freedom of creation. In fact, only then do we have the chance to decide by what means, by means of which product or service, by what set of actions we want to achieve the goal of a client. The innovativeness that we are looking for is hidden right at this stage, and we shouldn’t underestimate the role of a designer in its course. However, the majority of companies prefer to act on the close assumptions, what, on the surface, reduces the costs because the assumptions are devised by some permanent worker from a marketing department who, on the basis of his analyses, is trying to prepare the description of what a designer is supposed to design. Generally this is the description of some concrete product. The last thing to do is a call for proposals or a design competition, and it’s clear that as a result we will receive a slightly nicer cup, kettle, interface or a website. Our leeway is in such case very limited, we must fulfil the terms of a contract, i.e. strictly follow the assumptions, it is therefore difficult to come

10% of Polish designers are employed full-time in companies, 90% are freelancers.
Source: Report of the Association of Industrial Designers, ordered by BEDA in 2009.



Good brief is the basis. Aiming at launching the childrens furniture, the Furniture Vox company prepared it in a comprehensive way and has come up with three collections (in the photos from the left): Evolve and Pook Pook by Michał Biernacki, as well as the Meee multisensory furniture designed by T. Augustyniak.


up with some innovative solution. Something of that kind happened to us many years ago. We received the commission from Zelmer to make a mixer. Because we were then young and ambitious, we had the sense of mission that a designer is something more than an artist, so we didn’t simply want to make a nice mixer. We carried out the research and the trials and invented a triple spindle mixer. We added the third whisk, which stabilized the whole construction and incorporated more air into the beaten mass, making the foam appear by 40% faster. We took the model and the whole analysis and went to the director, who – as it turned out – did not expect such novelty from us. We would have probably been kicked out, if it hadn’t been for another mixer, made according to the assumptions, which we had up our sleeve. This design was accepted, implemented and has been on a market since then. One year later, on the biggest fairs of home appliances in Paris, we saw at the Philips stand a triple spindle model, advertised as an absolute novelty and a fantastic discovery. This example shows that companies are not always ready for implementing the innovation, something which will go beyond the standards, and also that a designer is generally expected to carry out his tasks strictly according to the expectations of a client. Entrepreneur should be aware that a designer is not only an artist, who is supposed to give a product a nice form. He should include a designer in his team, and – before the stage of designing a function and appearance of a product – try to co-create a brief based on the analysis of needs and technologies. It may bring an unexpected result – not to overuse the word “innovativeness”. Tomasz Augustyniak Having started to design the Meee childrens furniture, I received a very good brief from the Vox Furniture company. It comprised the definition of the target group, the social analysis of this group’s needs, the scientific research concerning the substantial aspects of the project, the range of available technologies, possible to be taken into account in the project, it defined the production scale, the foreseen price range and the way of distribution. What is generally missing in briefs is the information on what production scale a producer wants to achieve. Obviously he wants the biggest one, but apart from such vague statement, there is no analysis of how to achieve that. The market conditions set the increasingly big demands, which a manufacturer must meet, and he doesn’t always know how to make that. However, I must confirm that it is getting better in this regard. On the part of a designer there should be readiness and ability to ask the questions, which will help both partners – a designer and a manufacturer – mutually define what we are looking for, what we need, and how to achieve that. We will not substitute for the marketing department. Though it sometimes happens that a large design studio, having the right background, can also play such role, similarly to the promotion of a product or of the whole company. All this depends on the range of a design project. Coming back to to the childrens furniture brief – it is interesting that on a basis of the same assumptions and information we have come up with the three completely different designs. And all of them have been implemented. Apart from me there was also Michał Biernacki in that participated in this project. Do the companies have clearly defined project assessment criteria prior to the project creation? In theory, it seems obvious, but how does it look in practice? What are the consequences if there are no such criteria? 42% of Polish companies do not employ designers and do not cooperate with any design. studios.

23% of Polish companies admit to copying someone else’s design.



Sofa from the Iglo lounge set, design by T. Augustyniak for Noti. The product meets all the producer’s requirements: it is adequate for contract and home offer and has a universal form suitable for both modern and traditional interiors.

Photo: Cezary Hładki

29% of Polish entrepreneurs think that design has a significant impact on new market development.

Andrzej Śmiałek These criteria are something that companies usually lack. Much depends on how strong the arguments and the negotiation skills of designers are. If my client evaluates our proposal on the basis of his personal taste, I ask him whether, in his opinion, the product is intended for him or for his customers. That’s why the assessment criteria should be clearly defined, though in case of some of them this is actually very difficult. The criteria are usually established before the design process starts and serve as a basis for reviewing the following stage of work. Here, in the Ergo Design company, we devised our own system of project quality assessment. We analysed the needs of our clients and end users, and on this basis developed a design quality management form. This form includes sections on the manufacturer’s potential capacity, technology, requirements to be met by the product, description of the product’s general and technical function and the product’s price. Such specification is developed for every stage of the design process. We consult it with our client and then evaluate it together. If the designer’s assumptions are unviable, it is then difficult to manage the project. Tomasz Augustyniak Assessment should be made according to the criterion of compliance with the design brief. When the brief is incomplete, this is where problems start because you don’t have the basis to start with. The manufacturer can then say that he meant something else. It happened to me when I worked on the design of an office furniture system. The brief was imprecise – the manufacturer wanted to extend the existing market offer by a system of auditorium furniture with additional functionalities. It was my responsibility to conceive an idea. I proposed a mobile office furniture system solu-

tion to easily shape and quickly transform the office space. My furniture was wheeled and designed to form various combinations, for example single desks would join into conference tables, and small cubicles (divided with closet-walls) into a larger open space facility. These furniture was also easy to store. These are very important functions, especially in case of small companies that cannot afford to rent large spaces. Prototypes of all the elements of the system were produced and presented at a furniture fair. And after that, the manufacturer refrained from starting mass production and commissioned me to design study furniture. I was wondering what was the reason for the manufacturer to change his mind. The general goal was attained and, in my opinion, this furniture had a big chance to achieve a market success. Firstly, the project was not in line with the manufacturer’s vision. That is why it was difficult to convince him to take the risk of investing in a new idea that required a higher financial input as well as different (than in case of classic office furniture) promotion and distribution strategy. Secondly, there was no teamwork. The design process should be managed by a team comprising a designer, constructors, technologists and promotion specialists, for whom the project is a joint goal, and who take responsibility for its realization. That is a crucial condition, but – as I witnessed many times – it is not often met in Polish companies. They first develop the project, then the implementation model, and the marketing department knows nothing about its unique features, functional qualities or added value it brings to the company. If the need to develop a project is a result of the investor’s analysis, it naturally translates into the urge to perform a quick implementation to manufacture and awaiting the desired profit. If all these aspects burden the designer – there is usually no chance for the project to be successful. The force of internal resistance is unbeatable.



Design of plastic refrigerator parts by T. Rudkiewicz and NC.Art developed for Amica. It included designing, creating models and prototypes, and preparing full documentation. Apart from designer’s skills, it also required the skills of a constructor and an engineer. Meee – children furniture from Furniture Vox. The project developed by a multidisciplinary team including psychologists, sociologists, pedagogues, parents and children. The task of the designer – T. Augustyniak – was to translate the knowledge about psychophysical development and needs of children into the language of design.

A studio, a design company; even when you work individually, you’re still part of a team. Design is a team sport that requires multidisciplinary skills. Let us see how the knowledge in various fields is used in the design process. Tomasz Augustyniak I don’t work in a permanent team, but rather in temporary project teams that are formed to work on each commissioned project. Depending on the nature of the project, the team is supplemented with specialists in various fields. Their input to the project is indispensible. For example, if it wasn’t for them, we would have probably never come up with the design of the Meee children’s furniture (manufactured by the Furniture Vox company). Then, besides the designer, the members of our multidisciplinary team were psychologists, sociologists, pedagogues, as well as parents and children. In the process of furniture design – whether our goal is office or upholstered furniture – it is quite easy to adopt a user perspective. However, if this furniture is intended for small children – it is simply impossible. With childrens furniture, our own concept – even when it’s based on the valuable parental experience of what seems to be best, most interesting and stimulating for their children – is still not enough. Therefore, it was particularly important to prepare an analytical project. A research was conducted by cognitive specialists from the Poznan University Institute of Psychology, and as a result, extensive data on child development and initial needs has been gathered. The research allowed me to look at the project from a slightly different perspective and inspired me to design furniture which would positively influence child’s development by stimulating its senses. This is just one of several dozen examples. When parents lean over a child, it can tell their emotional states and feelings (like love, calmness, irritation, anger) by the look of their eyes and the expression on their face. Hence the idea for our furniture to have “eyes”.


To make a child react to a wardrobe or a chest of drawers as these were something more than inanimate pieces of furniture, something a child can communicate with. Scientific basis is naturally important in case of design addressed to people of all ages, and especially to the elderly and the ill. Marek Adamczewski In Poland, there are currently several, maybe a dozen design teams like Marad Design. And these teams are prepared to find a solution to any problem. Our permanent team is small, but we regularly cooperate with specialists in construction, technology and other areas and, if necessary, invite them to work on a particular project. We respond to all the client’s requests. The design team is, however, only part of the issue. For me, another thing of crucial importance is the question of building implementation teams composed of the manufacturer’s and designer’s representatives. They must find a common language and make their cooperation effective. In many companies they do not understand the importance of such collaboration. And that is why we try to communicate this idea to the students of the Design Management postgraduate studies, a joint initiative of the Institute of Industrial Design and the Warsaw School of Economics. We teach our students how to perform a successful design project implementation. Only if there is a mutual understanding between a manufacturer and a designer, and both parties agree that the project is the effect of their joint effort, there is a real chance for it to be a success. Much has changed in this respect thanks to the Design Your Profit programme. I must admit I had serious doubts whether it would be possible to see as much as 500 companies from all over the country participate in our trainings. But it turns out that now that three years have passed since the project was first launched, the response is still so vivid that I guess the initiative should be continued.

In Shanghai the GDP of the local creative industry, which covers research, architecture design, culture, consulting and fashion, hit US$16,8 billion, which accounted for 7,7% of the city’s total GDP in 2009. In Poland the creative and cultural sector constitutes 2,7% of GDP.
Sources: Shanghai Daily, 27 May 2010; “Creative Economy Report 2010” United Nations.

In Poland, around 300 designers and 10 studios deal with design projects.
Source: Report of the Association of Industrial Designers, ordered by BEDA in 2009.



Nokia: the first GSM telephone on the European market and a system of car holders, both designs from 1995. The first one was created by T. Rudkiewicz while working in the Finnish ED-Design studio, together with T. Hyvonen.

The control desk of a rail vehicle from the PESA Bydgoszcz company. Model and product. Designers: M. Adamczewski and Marad Design.

Before the mass production can be launched, the prototypes or models must obtain positive evaluation. Prototype tests ensure the design is viable and meets the project goals. We check whether a product performs its function properly or deserves a certificate and we survey the future users whether it meets their demands. Even the most advanced computer technology we are using today cannot always replace real-life tests. Marek Adamczewski Now we make prototypes rather seldom. Instead, we rely on computers and the prototype has been replaced by a 3D file we work on in virtual reality. We take a cardboard model, and the prototype is ready. Then we put it into a 3D machine. And it is always on our side. I cannot imagine not having a physical grasp of a new item before the design process is over. Despite the technological advancement of the contemporary 3D programmes, a real object and a 3D model are still two different worlds. On my computer I can view the object from every possible angle, but the truth is that a real-world context creates a completely different impression. Light falls differently; I can touch the object. In the design departments of every car manufacturer – though this may be viewed as an out-dated approach – they still make clay models of car bodies before passing on to producing prototypes. Prototype testing is absolutely indispensible because it is at that stage, when all the possible design faults, that were not detected earlier, finally come to light. In cases when there are special tools required to manufacture a certain product, a test series is produced and the process is extended by inclusion of the tool production stage. Product technological flaws are possible to detect thanks to the manufacturing tools. At that stage there is still time to make some changes. The later we make improvements, the more costly they are. An error costs least when we make it in the beginning of the design process, and most, when at the final stage we realize that a tool that cost 100 thousand zlotys is useless. Tomasz Rudkiewicz I really appreciate and respect the 3D technology. I was in fact one of the first designers in Poland who started using it. But nonetheless, there must always come a moment when you finally “pull” the item from the abstract to reality. In case of lamps or furniture, where aesthetic and functional value is important, making models and prototypes is relatively cheap – it is good to make both. When it comes to producing some hundred thousand items, like cars or mobile phones, in case of which the cost of implementation process is very high, you first make mock-ups/models. When I worked on mobile phones for Nokia, we made dozens of models. We searched for an ideal shape, we tried different options: does it fit in the palm of your hand, isn’t it too big, or too small, or too flat... A prototype is a final version of a product produced by a real technology. It is naturally also tested in all possible ways. Until we get an ideal prototype, there is no green light to start the manufacturing process. Large and expensive products, on the other hand, such as yachts, trams, or trains, in case of which a number of items in a batch reaches several dozen or hundred, a 1:1 model is a must, for we need to verify whether our ideas make sense in a real-life context or not. It is perhaps not cheap, but definitely cheaper than making changes to the final product. The model of a tram driver’s cab that we designed, was tested by its future users, real tram drivers, and the effects of our work were analyzed and evaluated by a team of several dozen representatives of the manufacturer and commissioner. Prototype furnished with all the technological solutions and functionalities is actually the final product. To sum up, I think there is no real industrial design without models and prototypes.
44% of Polish entrepreneurs declare that they use designer services to a significant extent at the stage of product development, 24% — to a very significant extent.

40% of companies believe that they engage designers in technical development and product development to a significant extent, 39% — to a very significant extent.



From reports
Designers’ involvement in various stages of the new product development (N=120)*
not involved involved

product concept generation product concept pre-selection economic analysis of new product implementation profitability technical development/product devising product testing and launch not involved

8% 8% 14% 5% 14% involved to a lesser degree

23% 26% 28% 16% 27% 40%

44% 43% 33% 24%

24% 24%

39% 34% 25% involved to a very much degree

involved to a considerable degree

The majority of the Polish entrepreneurs participating in the poll commissioned by IWP think that they involve designers at all stages of the new product development to a considerable extent. From our interviews with the Designers of the Year we conclude that the designers themselves don’t get such impression.

We teach

Schedule of the acceptance of novelty among the population**
Radically new product is likely to gain only a small number of purchasers (trailblazers), whereas a product which is supposed to be sold in large series should be designed with respect to moderate innovativeness, taking into account the habits of purchasers***.


modern ones

early majority

late majority

belated ones


* Data from IWP report: „Potrzeby, kompetencje i efektywność w zakresie wykorzystania wzornictwa przemysłowego w polskich przedsiębiorstwach”, 2011. ** Diagram from the „Design Management” IWP Warsaw 2010; after P Kotler „Marketing”, Poznań 2005. , . *** Comment on the diagram – professor Jerzy Ginalski, in: „Design Management”, IWP Warsaw 2010, p. 138. ,




We face a difficult task to precisely determine the role and responsibilities for a new post of a design manager/ /design director.

Competences that is different sides of the same coin
Owner, design manager, product manager, marketing? Who in the Polish companies is the person responsible for the cooperation with designers and for the whole design process? Andrzej Śmiałek My experience tells me that it is the position that a given person has in the company’s hierarchy that most affects the quality of cooperation and design process management – the higher the position, the greater the authority. Best results are generated when this function is performed by the owner of a company – a person responsible for the budget and most important decisions. This is often the case in small companies. In corporations, on the other hand, we usually cooperate with design managers who are responsible for the performance of the research and development or implementation departments. If this person holds a high position in the company’s hierarchy and has a coherent vision of the project, we may consider ourselves lucky. He or she has then enough authority to make more independent decisions. Unfortunately, design is not a priority as far as the management structure of the Polish companies is concerned, so we are still lacking in design managers. Marek Adamczewski Design manager is a relatively new profession in Poland. I must admit, it is not easy for me to find my way in the maze of the Polish-English slang terms. In large companies I cooperate with, there is a person called project manager, and these middle sized ones always have some kind of construction or development department, whose supervisor is responsible for contacts with designers. In small companies this role is usually performed by the owner or the president. I think we are still lacking sufficient public awareness to make design management profession more common. It will take time. In the course of project realization, you may often encounter problems resulting from not clearly defined competences – who is responsible for what, who is entitled to make particular arrangements, whose responsibility is to accept or reject the initial plans. What has been your experience in this respect? Tomasz Rudkiewicz There’s a permanent conflict of interests going on. The process definitely shouldn’t be handled by a marketing specialist. This person should be rather participating in preparing the basis of the project. Designer responsible for the final project preparation is often in conflict with a technologist, who is at times not willing to get convinced to the necessity of the new solution implementation. We must work hard to win this person over to our vision, and often, despite their resistance, impose an innovative approach. In the end we need the authority who is bold enough to take the risk and accept a non-standard project. Tomasz Augustyniak If the manufacturer’s assumptions are clearly defined, and so is the project goal of the whole team – there are usually no problems with making various arrangements at any stage of the design process. Another example: we were asked by the PROFIm company, an office seat manufacturer, to come up with a new design of a standard office chair: reasonably priced, appealing to a wide target group, visually interesting form, standing out amongst other chairs, but no extravagance that might have turn out to be too controversial and discouraging for the customer. The basic technological assumption of the manufacturer was to have a plastic backrest produced with a plastic injection moulding technique. I presented a project that I thought the users would intuitively accept as comfortable and functional. The role of the symmetrically distributed openings was to create the impression
In the 2008/2009 academic year, there was only one programme of postgraduate studies in Design Management (IWP and Warsaw School of Economics). 53 students graduated from the programme. In 2010/2011, over 100 people studied Design Management at three universities.



Photo: Rafał Kolasiński

We are always short on time. Instead of technical drawings – a model was created. Vehicle desk for PESA Bydgoszcz designed by M. Adamczewski with the D7 team.

UWU office chair, design by T. Augustyniak for PROFIm. Created in several versions: rotating chair, conference chair with runners or legs, with a tablet, and also as a bench connecting two or three chairs. The success was a product of the good design and engagement of the marketing and sales departments in the whole process of product development.

of lightness, and help to overcome the user’s potential reluctance towards plastic, as well as to make the product more user friendly. Their additional function was to improve air circulation. The type of backrest we developed may be attached to a variety of chair frames and installed in all members of the product family – conference, auditorium and reception chairs, as well as chairs that may be joined to form benches. A more luxurious version of the backrest features a padded cover. The manufacturer was apprehensive about my idea being too bold, and exceeding expected standards, but in the end they decided to take the risk. The UWU chair design was implemented to manufacture. The product was launched with the active support of the marketing and sales departments that were engaged in the project from the very beginning. Over several years the company has sold over 70 000 items from the UWU product family, and they were exported to 24 countries worldwide. Which aspect do you think is the most lacking as far as your cooperation with companies is concerned? Or from the companies’ perspective, what aspects in the scope of their competences should be changed to make the cooperation more efficient? Marek Adamczewski In my opinion, what we need most is the understanding of the role and importance of the project implementation team. As I mentioned before, this team comprises representatives of both a designer and manufacturer. I never work without such team. I always build an implementation team, even though it is sometimes very difficult to get to the point when we can say: “this is our project”. A project I work out exclusively on my own is of no use to me. It is really hard to build price awareness, in other words, to convince the client that the actual costs

of design don’t equal my remuneration. In this respect I am completely inefficient as far as signing agreements is concerned. Besides, it is my belief that designers should receive royalties from their designs. Manufacturer covers the manufacture costs, and if a design turns out to be successful and sells well, a designer deserves to be paid a respective portion of the generated income. Commissioners also miscalculate the amount of time required for a designer to come up with the project. I am given, for example, a three day deadline to complete a project I know I would need at least two weeks to do right – and then I face a real dilemma. Tomasz Augustyniak Besides the fact that we are lacking in the proper design briefs, which is still a serious problem, there is also the issue of insufficient consistency in taking actions and the issue of underestimating the designer’s role. Sometimes in order to obtain some valuable information, manufacturers pretend they are interested in starting cooperation with a designer. They try to get this information during the initial contact with a designer and before signing an agreement (which often never happens). Experienced designers are wary of such unethical behaviour, but those who are strongly focused on making a good impression in order to get the job, often fall into this trap and tell a potential client all that he wants to know. Naturally, the cooperation never starts. When it actually comes to signing an agreement, designers – both freelancers and those working in small design studios – usually have no support from anyone. They stand alone against the commissioner’s commercial advisor and head accountant, who often act like a designer was nothing more than a bolt seller, they do not understand the nature of his profession and concentrate only on securing best possible agreement terms for a commissioner. This is not just about the financial aspect, but

In the entire world, there are about 120 larger consulting companies/design studios dealing with consultancy regarding strategic design management.
Source: ”Design as a driver of user centred innovation”, Commission of the European Communities, 2009.

In Europe, 13% of companies use the services of independent consulting companies dealing with consultancy regarding strategic design management.
Source: Design Management Europe Studies, 2009.



Photo: Rafał Kolasiński

Gala by the ELTRA Bydgoszcz company is a rare case of competent and complete elaboration of system assumptions. Design: M. Adamczewski and the D7 team. When designing the Profi vacuum cleaner for Zakład Silników, Ergo Design proposed the application of ready subassemblies. It enabled to lower the implementation costs by 35%.

May lounge set, design by T. Augustyniak for Comforty – modern furniture, mobile, with a light form. Avocado lamp, design and production by T. Rudkiewicz and NC.Art. Inside, like an avocado stone, there is LED – an innovative source of light at the time (2007).

Photo: Rafał Kolasiński

about all the commitments we make and that are later judged. All the provisions of the agreement should be precisely stated and clear for both parties, in order to avoid later misunderstandings and conflicts. It is in the interest of both parties that a designer was offered the assistance of a lawyer, for the cost of such assistance in comparison to the costs which might be incurred when signing an erratic agreement is relatively low. Design should not be treated as one of many other services you can save your money on. It requires a manufacturer to be aware of the nature of designer’s work as well as trust and faith that the cooperation will bear fruit. Then you can work in normal conditions. Which element of the system needs to be altered on a national level in order to make the designer-manufacturer cooperation more efficient, and to make the role of a designer in Poland similar to that of a designer in other modern world economies? Marek Adamczewski Educate, explain, show the importance of cooperation, allocate more financial resources to product innovation. In the existing structures there is not enough or even no place whatsoever for innovative projects. We have our ambitions, aspirations, and we want to imitate those leading economies. However, the lack of sufficient funds is a serious drawback. In Poland, the funds allocated to innovative solution implementation are three times smaller than in the majority of other European countries! It is nonetheless my deepest belief that if the number of the companies that benefit from the cooperation with designers is steadily growing, other companies will start following their example. To be honest, there is no other option, because in the real market, design is the best weapon against competition.

Tomasz Rudkiewicz What we are seriously lacking in is the ability to create real-life objects and the ability to manage this process. There has been some changes going on in management – that’s good. However, working with materials, the process of confronting design with form, in other words, craft – gradually disappears. People think that outstanding idea is what design needs most. Contrarily, I think this essential quality is outstanding craft. Without craft, design is never successful. Meanwhile, vocational schools are being shut down. We have no good prototype workshops, neither at the universities where designers are educated, nor in the manufacturing plants. We shouldn’t only theorize about design and attempt to create it out of nothing. Design is not just about a project and a designer. The manufacturer, who already knows that design is important, organizes a competition in order to get a fresh idea. But what’s next? This idea must be implemented to manufacture in a professional way. What we need is adequate research, tools, materials, contractors, and then testing. And all this assisted by the devoted author – a designer and a competent design manager. Tomasz Augustyniak I think that although Poland is a country with great economic potential, the demand for professional designers is still too small. Competition in the national and world markets requires the products to meet certain levels of quality. In order to reach this goal, cooperation with designers is indispensible. Without the assistance of designers it is impossible to develop a company these days. It’s a natural process that progresses at its own pace – it is simply impossible to impose certain things; some will only happen when the manufacturers realize they need them, too.

In Poland, around 440 people receive MA degrees in design every year, hence it can be calculated that around 2500 people study design. In the UK, in 2009, 55 310 people studied at faculties connected with design. In China 400 high schools educate 10 000 designers annually.
Sources: Report of the Association of Industrial Designers, ordered by BEDA in 2009; ”Design Industry Research 2010”, Design Council;

Business Week, November 2005.

In 2008, Poland was the eighth largest exporter of design goods (products relating to architecture, interior design, glass, fashion, jewellery, toys) in the world. The value of export was USD 3,885 billion (1.59% of the global market of the export of design goods), which is 14% more than in 2002.
Source: ”Creative Economy Report 2010”, UN.



From reports
Expected benefits of design management (N=412)*
providing a link between strategy and design higher quality of design work more effective design projects improved innovation activities improved competitiveness enhanced customers experience enhanced ability to create new market space more alignment between functional departments maintaining competitive edge achieving differentiation and advantage stronger brand/product image and reputation improved profitability and growth higher visibility in marketplace improved performance of processes 36% 35% 31% 50% 49% 45% 45% 44% 44% 44% 43% 60% 59% 69%

In the whole Europe there is a growing need for the professional design management. More and more companies start to notice more and more profits from the collaboration with design management specialists.

We promote

Design management higher education programmes in Poland 2008 – 2011**
the number of students

120 100 80 60 40 20 0 2008/2009 IWP & SGH (Warsaw) 2009/2010 IWP SGH (Warsaw) + WSNHiD (Poznań) 2010/2011 IWP & SGH (Warsaw) + WSNHiD (Poznań) + WSSiP (Łódź)

1. A post graduate degree is so far the only educational option of studying design management in Poland. 2. The elements of design management are now more frequently presented at various conferences, courses or workshops. An example of such initiatives is the workshop for entrepreneurs and designers organized by the IWP under the Design Your Profit project. From July 2009 until March 2011 it was completed by the total number of 854 participants.

* From: ”The incorporation of design management in today’s business practices. An analysis of design management practices in Europe 2009”, Design Management Europe; online survey conducted among the companies from all over Europe. ** IWP data.




Editing: Ewa Siemieńska, IWP Research: Michał Bachowski, Joanna Kępińska, IWP Art direction: Ewa Szyszka-Oczkowska Translation: Martyna Skalska; Get It Sp. z o.o. Proofreading: B&A Studio Photoediting: Małgorzata Kołtun, IWP Photos: Companies’ PR services; designers’archives Print: Dasker S.C., M.D. Strupczewscy

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