Designers shouldn’t spend 8 hours a day stuck to a chair

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Staying in touch with reality is a powerful drive for your creative inspiration.

When we ask those wonderful creatives in our community how they stay inspired, most of them reply that having a walk or looking at the world around is their personal way to keep the creative juices flowing. It seems to be quite a widespread technique, and for good reason: keeping an attentive eye on the world around us is priceless to get ideas for our own work.

This is what industrial designer Laura Mimini believes too. Born in Italy, Laura developed her career in Australia and has now been working in China for the past two years. She has lived at the crossroads of different cultures for several years now, and though she is a loyal believer in the powers of technology, she also loves putting things on pen and paper to avoid losing touch with reality. This keeps her inspired. This keeps her going.

For this Member Spotlight, we had a chat with one of the Bronze winners of Annual 2020, a talented designer with plenty of dreams and advice for any creative professional out there.


How did you get into the industry?

You mean, the product design industry or the musical instrument industry? Just joking, both cases are linked to my passions. I knew I wanted to become a designer even when I was an early teenager. I am passionate about art in all of its forms and that helps a lot.

One of my recent projects, Meum, the electric bass guitar that this year won several prizes and also gained a bronze in the Creativepool Annual awards, I have to say that it came out of my musical experience. I’m a bass guitar player and I simply merged my passions to obtain something that is not only a design piece but also a perfect and balanced instrument for the player.


Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I’m Italian but in 2017 I left Italy to pursue new opportunities in Australia, Sydney, where I stayed for 1 year. After that year I ended up in China where I’ve been living and working for 2 years.

At the moment I’m working as a part time industrial designer for an Italian company based in Hong Kong and China (Foshan, Guangdong). For the rest of the time I freelance with some clients I have in China and all over the world. I used to collaborate with Europe, America and Australia by remote. I also dedicate some time to my personal project: have MEUM in production and on the market very soon!

Spoiler: many good news are on the way for the near future! :)


If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

Probably playing my bass guitar with a rock/metal band going on tours all over the world, not a bad deal!


Can you explain your creative process?

Difficult and long question to answer, I'll try to be synthetic! Of course you have to relate to the main steps of creation in design: research - inspiration – concept – development – prototyping – testing – production, but it’s also true that the process needs to be “shaped” according to your client’s needs. Not all clients require the same output, and you have to be flexible to find the best creative compromise with the project you’re working on.

I also want to highlight that the most important part of this process is related to the step of concept generation. It’s there that the best insights and ideas are born, and there you can fire up your real talent and creativity!


How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

It totally affected the way I work! I have to confess that I’m a bit “analogue” despite everybody thinking designers need to be dramatically involved in technology. I love to make hand prototypes and rely on physical models or sketches and create on paper with markers and pencil. I think contact with reality really helps you get the right feeling and connection with the project. Despite that, 3D printers and 3D software for example are a huge help for creators, they save times and consequently money.


What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

First of all, be always curious, and eager to know more! Second, get out of the damn office!! Designers shouldn’t spend 8 hours a day stuck to a chair, it’s not helpful. To get inspirations from the outside world is mandatory in the way I work. Talk with people, read, observe, learn.


What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

For sure MEUM, my bass guitar, because it’s 100% my original concept and it totally represents my soul and myself. It got me to work with an amazing team of people and over the years the outcome was something that makes me totally proud of the work done. As I said, my dream is to put it on the market very soon, we’re working on that!


How do you recharge away from the office?

For sure music is my first choice to recharge, although in the last years I couldn’t practice it as I wish I did, because of my constant travelling here and there.

Here in China I found a lot of stress relief also by doing Meditation and Yoga. Travelling and visiting new places is one of my other big relief valves, and an inspiration provider.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Be ready to be determined, be patient, trust in your own self and never stop to learn and listen, especially when you reach high positions.

What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?

I hope, especially for my country (Italy), that the creative field gets back on track. Creativity is important for human beings as much as other disciplines. Encourage people to follow their feelings and their artistic passions, instead of stopping them or saying it’s useless, it’s very important nowadays. Please, appreciate, recognize and reward creative people for their products. Those will make a difference.


If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

My answer is not about changes but mostly about what I would like to see more: I would make all the customers aware of the importance of art in every single outcome that will be put on production and especially in the market. It is not about money but more about awareness. Also make every producer sensitive to sustainability themes, it is very important nowadays to produce only products that are sustainable.

Hungry for more? Find other Product Designers here!


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