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Talking Heads – Russel

Russel, Guzu Product designer

Hi Russel!
Hi Ant

You are a product designer here at Guzu correct?

Yes, I’m an industrial designer.


Tell us how you got into product design?
When I was 12 years old, my art teacher saw potential in me and advised I should pursue the carrier as a designer.  Or at least try to get accepted to art school. After 4 years of high school for industrial design continued with studies of it for another 5 years at Uni, Academy of fine arts and design. That was 18 years ago…


Is there any particular invention that you wished you were the one that invented it?
Yes, spoon. Can you imagine having an IP on it?


Tell us about your greatest lesson in Industrial product design?
The lesson would be that design is never finished. There are always ways of improving or doing it differently. If nothing else you get bored at one point and there is time for a 2.0 version.


What tips would you give to an emerging (or new) product designer?
Listen to your instinct, you have the talent not the other person.


Do you have any designers you follow or inspire to be like?
I do check what my mates from Uni are up to from time to time, otherwise, the only person I follow with interest is Elon Musk. I know he is not a designer, but a great visionary at least.


What does the average process look like (in your words) when it comes to creating a new product from scratch?
Recognizing the problem(s), sleep and finally finding a solution.


What does innovation mean to you?
Making life easier and more fun.


Are you working on any personal projects currently?
Yes. For more information on it, you would need to sign an NDA.


What’s the most fun part of your job?


What do you wish could be invented to make your life easier?

Design button. ?


Talking Heads – Emily

Emily, Project Manager

Tell us about lists? Why would you recommend anyone to write lists?
I’m all about that list life. Just because it’s my job to be organised that doesn’t necessarily mean I have a good memory and without lists things begin to fall apart (dramatic I know, but true).

If you’re not a list person, I honestly can’t relate. My suggestion; try to make it a daily habit, start small & build upon it. I promise you won’t regret it!


How do you manage the stress of owning so many tasks?
In our business we live by the mantra to do whatever it takes to serve our customers, which can often mean priorities change at a fast pace. This means more tasks and a whole lot more organising within teams. Some days it can get a bit too much. That’s when I take a short walk by the lake, chuck on my headphones and get in the zone back at my computer. Going for a walk gives me a quick reminder that it is not the end of the world and it will get done! If all else fails, talk with the team. Support from your colleagues can often be underestimated.


What is the greatest lesson in time management you’ve learnt? 
It will always take longer that what you estimate. Give yourself some breathing space when planning your time on a project.

What does the average day look like for an account manager? 
Aside from the couple of daily recurring tasks I keep within our task management program, every day is different. That’s what makes this work exciting and challenging!

What advice would you give a new account manager (one that has to deal with many different personalities).
Always be prepared for change.


What tools do you use daily that make your life easier?

Asana – task management program. What’s good about Asana is that it’s not just a program I love but is something that works for everyone in the office.

Hubstaff – time/project tracking program. Tip: Use a time tracking program that integrates with your task management software. If you can find a program that does both & suits your business processes, then that’s a bonus!


How do you approach meetings with new clients?
Be prepared and don’t assume. Know who you’re going into a meeting with and note everything down!


If you were to pitch for any client in the world who would you want to work with?
I’m currently looking at ways that I can change my habits and better the environment we live in. I’d love to work with brands & clients that offer solutions and are a part of solving the problem we face today with single use plastics & fast fashion.


What are your hobbies in your downtime?
I’m currently new to the dog mum life, which of course means spending ALL of my spare time on her.

Talking heads – Harriet

You’re from New Zealand, correct?

That’s right!


Has your motherland had an influence on the way you work?

There is something called No.8 wire mentality which describes a Kiwi’s ability to improvise and adapt to solve problems with what they have – as we are so isolated at the bottom of the world we make do with what we’ve got and find a solution. I think this is useful because it means you don’t just quit and say nah too hard, you find a way to figure it out.


Tell us how you got into graphic design?

I had taken a photography class, I’d gotten good marks and enjoyed the creativity of it. There was an option in my final year to take graphic design as a class which I hadn’t until then because I knew I couldn’t draw so thought I would have floundered. I was somehow convinced and took it and then thought well if I like this I’ll go to uni for it – luckily I loved it and was encouraged in my ability!


Tell us about your greatest lesson in graphic design?

The greatest lesson, in general, is that it’s not about aesthetics. It’s not just pretty pictures, design exists to solve problems and communicate ideas.


What tips would you give to an emerging (or new) graphic designer? 

Get work experience, uni is awesome for teaching you how to use design thinking but you also need to know how to manage your workflow, filing systems and how different sized businesses work and what the real world will be like. Freelance too to get more experience with real-life clients and timelines!


Do you have any designers you follow or draw inspiration from?

I follow more agencies than specific people however Tobias can Schneider and Jessica Walsh both generally rock my socks off.


What does innovation mean to you?

To me innovations are those simple things that you think what did I do before this, how did I not think of creating this. Things that transform your way of living.


What are your favourite colours (in hex) or PMS? 

I’m way too easily bored to have favourites in anything in life, but right now I’m really into pink F2C7D3 and red CC231F together.

How do you stay on top of the crazy amount of trends?

I love to look at trends and I like to experiment with them. I’m more likely to unconsciously take a bit from lots of different trends and create a mix of them all making it my own.


Where do you think graphic design is heading into the future? 

I really hope that they don’t just teach an algorithm to do it and that I’ll still have a job.


What would your advice be to businesses looking to hire a graphic designer? 

I would ask the candidates to explain their thought processes and why they did what they did on certain projects, understanding how they think and how they solve problems.


You had a big hand to play in the rebrands of a few of our clients here at GUZU?  Where do you start? 

You have to start with strategic thinking, what does this brand need to achieve. Looking at the history or story of a company is also important for the tone of the brand and potentially some gold nuggets that could influence the visuals.


What advice would you give businesses that want to rebrand? Where should they start?

Understand what you want to get out of your brand. What do you want people to think of your brand and company? Who do you want to target? What purpose does the brand serve?

What is the future of your company – will it expand where will it mostly exist? Asking yourself these questions is very important to help us out.