About leadership, design and work culture: interview with Polish Red Dot winners Piotr Wiśniewski and Paweł Frej of Agencja Reklamowa Opus B
At the recent Red Dot Award: Design Concept, the Polish agency Agencja Reklamowa Opus B was awarded two Red Dots and one Honourable Mention for three of their concepts. KWARTA was created to revive the dying mead production traditions in Poland. It brings together almost forgotten craftsmanship with contemporary design to create unique mead bottles. GEKKO is a personal care product. It holds liquid soaps and shampoos while it can be attached to shower walls. Barberian, the third concept, is a brand concept for men’s hair accessories and was awarded an Honourable Mention.
The designers Piotr Wiśniewski and Paweł Frej from Agencja Reklamowa Opus B talked with Red Dot about leadership, design and work culture.
Red Dot: What is your role in your agency?
Piotr Wiśniewski: I am a designer. My role is to present ergonomic solutions in visual and functional terms. I want to ease everyday life but also to improve its aesthetics.
What comes to you first: business or customer?
Piotr Wiśniewski: Without a doubt the customer! Designing means solving problems and responding to the needs of people. My work is to get to know the consumer and their entire world. If people need something, then there is a business opportunity.
What are the personal benefits while preparing for a major project?
Piotr Wiśniewski: Designing is my passion and my everyday work gives me a lot of satisfaction. Each implemented product is the culmination of my efforts. To see people using the products is the greatest reward for designers. Then we know that our ideas are not only concepts that have stayed in our heads. Of course, awards are also significant. It is important that experts appreciate our ideas and skills.
Why did you become a designer?
Piotr Wiśniewski: I wanted to change the world! It is a fantastic profession to improve everything around us step by step. Being a designer means endless curiosity. We always want more, we are open to the world and to meet people. It can be said that this job is a continuous prolongation of youth. It is a creative merging with the reality that surrounds us. And an attempt to set new trends.
Design school never ends, at least for great designers. How do you learn and grow your knowledge and expertise?
Piotr Wiśniewski: I always seek for inspiration. And any conversation, meeting or for example the work with children – literally everything can be inspiring. You never know where you find the next impulse for creation. And in case of knowledge: press and trade literature, as well as conferences and workshops can be of help in the search for knowledge, but I draw the greatest experience directly from people since I design for them.
How would you describe your design research?
Paweł Frej: There are no ideal solutions because every project is different. It is good to balance the research work involving analyses and determination of the purpose, needs, problems and competition with creative madness in order to release your creativity. To break conventions, it is good to develop the attitude of a child who wonders at everything and looks for the least obvious solutions.
When or how do you know that your product has become a success?
Paweł Frej: When we are in a phase of designing, it is our intuition that tells us the best solutions. This intuition is also luck and instinct but very frequently experience as well.
Please describe your corporate culture in three words.
Paweł Frej: Never stop curiosity.
What can’t be forgotten when talking about your work culture?
Paweł Frej: In our company, teamwork and creative approach to each subject are the most important. We always strive to ensure that all team members are engaged in projects and designing is neither a compulsion nor a chore.
How do you decide about distribution of tasks?
Paweł Frej: It is absolute significant that different people appear in one team. More or less experienced designers with different passions and interests who have diverse styles and techniques. It is very important that they “infect” one another with energy and curiosity, gain and exchange experience, as well as share their passions. The team should consist of various personalities and characters while the leader should know how to subdue those elements and direct them towards a creative path.