An Interview given for MD Magazine- Issue 1/2013
MD You specialised in product design. Could you tell us about the most important moments in your professional development until now?
AY Every project I took part in was important. It is difficult for me to define them as being “more important” or “less important”. I would like to mention my first ever product design which put the beginning of my career in 1998 while I was still at the Academy. That was a data terminal (MDT) for a controller’s system for one of the big taxi companies in Bulgaria. To me it has more emotional value than aesthetic. Although this is a specialized product, not a mass product, the device has lasted longer than any of all other products I have created. It is still used by the taxi company, which again proves its operational characteristic.I have participated in exhibitions such as the Design Biennials, organized by the Union of Bulgarian Artists – three times so far. I received two honorary degrees during the first exhibition –for best design and presentation from UBA and the Bulgarian Design and Advertising Association.
MD What is the most important element when developing a new product – its image, functionality or something else?
AY It all depends on the product you design. In some cases it is functionality, in other cases it is the image, but the good combination between functionality, image and innovation is the key to creating a successful product. Further to the above mentioned qualities the design should create an emotion in the clients, a feeling for “advantage” and to result in a change in the quality of life.
MD You have created around twenty products that are marketed. In your opinion, what does it take to turn a project into a successful product that can sell? In other words, what marks the transition from concept to successful manufacturing?
AY Between the concept and the successful manufacturing the product goes through a number of stages. I would not like to go into too many details since the process is complex and sometimes prolonged. A successful mass product is the one which sells in the forecast quantities or exceeds them. In order to sell the product should have certain qualities which make it important or wanted. Certainly there is no absolute guarantee that a product with good design will be successful even if it had all the necessary aesthetic andfunctional qualities. However, the opposite can occur too – products with ‘dubious’ aesthetic and other qualities become Best Sellers.The world market is flooded with such products. Whether a product with good design is preferred and sold better than a product with worse qualities depends on the cultural environment where the client grew, his aesthetic upbringing and last but not least, his aesthetic capacity. Nowadays, it is of great importance to position the product on the market correctly – to evaluate carefully its target group, to consider how it will lead to a qualitative change in the client’s life and work and last, but not least – how much money the client would need in order to purchase it. I personally think that for mass items like consumer electronics it is very important to offer the client emotions and innovation. Specialised “non-mass” products, however, should be characterized with functionality and qualitative change, which should have a priority over emotion-creation. Aesthetic qualities remain as important as functionality though.
MD Do you think that Bulgarian design has its place among the best world achievements?
AY The notion “Bulgarian design”, I believe, is a bit arbitrary and I think that it refers to designers who work in Bulgaria. There are many Bulgarians who work around the world and are successful industrial/product designers. I do believe that in the future those designers who work in Bulgaria will reach a certain level and they will be noticed and appreciated worldwide.
MD Is there anything else you would like to do despite making product design?
AY For the time being industrial design is my key occupation. I have designed interiors and made graphic design, but what gives me great pleasure and satisfaction is what I am doing now.The reason for that is that everyone can touch the things I have made. I would really like to design vehicles. And, …why not, design fashion accessories?