Check out our profile on Daniel Tomicic.
As an art historian with a penchant for automobiles and transportation design, what trends have you noticed over the years as the industry evolves to meet new challenges?
Latest trend is a car designed by an online community. Automotive industry follows potential buyers online and gets them involved in creation process of the new product. Instead of doing research of what people would like to get out of a car and then trying to create a product to suit them, potential buyers today get involved in the very process of creation. We already saw this in the fashion industry and now Local Motors and Marussia are offering cars created in this way. Big manufacturers have to follow this trend soon. On stylistic level, there are a lot of trends like smaller headlights, “bell-bottoms,” in-car timepieces, horizontal “lip-chin creases,” etc.
From your experience in organizing design events such as Auto(r), what does it take to be a successful industrial designer?
To be successful in any job you must work hard, get a good education, and be modest. You have to be hyper productive. Level of presentation has to be excellent. Work has to be purpose driven and you must avoid endless perfectionism. Good educational institution will give you a level of knowledge, gain employer trust, and provide good connections. Employers neither have the will, nor the time, to get you introduced into work. You must fit in a workplace environment perfectly from day one. Personality is extremely important, because after all we are humans and like to be surrounded with positive personalities. Modesty is a universal value and all great designers are simple and accessible.
You are based in Croatia. Have you noticed any regional differences in design approach and solutions between the Eastern and Western European designers?
Eastern European designers grow and work without a system, basically everybody is on his own. You can say the same is in the West, but in the East the scale of chaos is exhausting and often paralyzing. When Iceland went into bankruptcy, they still had a much higher standard of life than the rest of the world. Governments in Eastern Europe don’t support a domestic industry, but instead import goods, and consequently there is no need for designers.
There is no conscience about importance of design. There are no good or bad schools, they are all the same. You don’t get practical knowledge, so after graduation you don’t know what to do, where to go, and how to behave. For instance, a lot of designers don’t have a portfolio or a personal website. They don’t know what the rates are, so they either overprice or undervalue their work. Level of output is very low. Designers create one or two designs and then they spend years promoting it. They are like a child who plays life.
So, what would you recommend a prospective industrial designer from the region do in order to break into in the field?
The most efficient way is to graduate from an excellent university. That will lead to good internships and connections. Living and working in some of the cities where world trends are created is crucial to gain experience—that saves self-development time, but unfortunately requires more money than majority of people in the region can afford. Alternatively, one should use resources one has already: learn from the best by browsing their online portfolios and reading their interviews, use the same platforms to promote your own work, start a blog. Send your best project to as many design media outlets as you can and some of them will publish it. Use the resources in the area where you live: go to events and meet new people. It is crucial not to give up and to have a good balance. You have to balance between self-confidence and self-awareness, ambition and realistic goals. Step by step you can achieve whatever you desire.
[ … ]