Just a kid with typographic exercises like drawing metal band logos and cars, Dino Franke realised he was only tapping the surface and soon would pursue an education in graphic studies to get to the bottom of what the realm of design was all about.
It didn’t take long for interest to perpetuate into passion where new media and technology are concerned, eventually landing him a firm position in the creative world working for interactive and design agencies. Today, the German-born designer, alongside a worldly team of talent works as a freelancer for GROHE AG— a leading global brand for complete bathroom solutions and kitchen fittings.
With a focus on user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, Dino formulated a namesake by adhering to a personal set of standards equipped to fuel his success. For example, one must stay grounded among the pressures of such a fast-paced field, and to do this the designer turns to certain hobbies.
“Cycling, photography [and] music,” are just of few personal outlets to get the creator’s passion flowing besides work. And such outlets allow the graphics guru to stay creative under such pressures, for when asked about this method, he replies:
“A clear focus on the work is very important. I try to switch off all sources of distraction (e-mail, Slack, social media), and if I'm stuck in a project, I'll take time out and step back from my desk. That could be anything— a two-hour bike ride, a walk along the Rhine, playing with my daughter, making music... it doesn’t really matter. Ideas very rarely come in front of the computer,” says Franke, and we agree. Though a word of advice, offers the artist: “Don’t fear starting all over again if you’re unhappy with your work.”
Dino is a connoisseur in the realm of communication. After all, the skillset paves the foundation for his main approach to design. “It’s all about conversation. Learn and understand the problem,” he says. Having inspiration doesn’t hurt either, as Dino Franke drops several sources that have lent a helping hand where positive influence is concerned.
“To name just a few, I like the undogmatic thinking of David Carson, the minimalistic approach of Dieter Rams, the attitude of people like James Victore or Erik Spiekermann…. and the anarchy of my eight-year-old daughter,” he says. But the biggest influence on Dino’s way of thinking? “First of all, my wife. And many people that I met in my life like friends, teachers, colleagues,” he adds.
It’s crucial to stay informed on the latest design trends to keep clients happy. How does a leading designer at GROHE AG do this? “I read a lot. Really, a lot. Design blogs, magazines, books… it’s essential to stay in the loop. I also follow a lot of designers on Instagram, etc., and attend conferences for design and technology such as FITC, OFFF, Beyond Tellerrand to name just a few,” says Dino.
Yet what happens in the instance a client isn’t loving the artist’s vision? When it comes to swaying a customer into trusting the process, for Franke it’s simple: “You should always think about possible downsides of your creative solution before presenting to a client. Arguments sell better than opinions, so be prepared!” he explains.
It doesn’t hurt that the graphics guru has over 20 years’ experience under his creative toolbelt— another selling point that provides clients with the confidence to trust his better judgment.
After all, the challenge is what the industry is all about; for Dino, that’s precisely what he enjoys most about his work. “Every project is different,” he says. “That’s what I like the most. To get the job done the UX/UI designer uses “the standard design tools like everybody else. The ones I cannot live without are Sketch, Photoshop, my notebook and Spotify,’ he tells us.
When asked about the best piece of advice he's ever heard, Dino relays J Victore’s wise words: "There ain’t no rules.” Which is especially true in any realm where art and technology intertwine. Perhaps it was this same advice which helped cultivate the inspiration behind Dino Franke’s recent win of Mobile Design of the Year at the Indigo Awards 2019 in Spain.
“It was really a great pleasure and honour to receive the award. I also met a lot of really nice colleagues from all over the world. The award was a great appreciation of our work and at the same time an important recognition within the company. Interactive design and UX are rather new disciplines inside of GROHE, and it proves that the shift from product design to service design is a step in the right direction.”
So, what can we hope to see more of from the designer in the future? “Basically, I'm really happy with my current situation. For the future, I'd like to work more on projects that deal with sustainability as I did for Grohe smart home products. I also want to share my experience with students as well as getting my website done!” he adds.
Check out who won what at the second annual Indigo Design Award here.