Red Dot CEO Peter Zec in interview with bz Basel

“What doesn't work, doesn't help.”

The work of Swiss designers is associated with very precise design and high-quality execution in the Red Dot Design Award. Whether in the competition for product design or among communication designers: Swiss have been scoring continuously in the international field of participants for many years. For the Swiss daily newspaper bz Basel, this was a good occasion to conduct an in-depth interview with Professor Dr. Peter Zec, CEO and initiator of Red Dot.

The Red Dot CEO’s personal view of the Swiss design scene and his assessment of the opportunities the country offers for creatives gives readers the opportunity to get to know Switzerland far beyond the familiar associations of “mountains, lakes and skiing”. But cross-national topics also find their place. For example, the question of whether digitalisation is contributing to a lack of creativity and skill and how craftsmanship stands up to it is addressed.

Read a short excerpt from the interview conducted by Patrick Marcolli and Andreas Schwald here. You can find the entire article in the online edition of bz Basel.

bz: Mr. Zec, you are known as a connoisseur. Does one have to imagine that you, as a design pope, choose your wine according to the most beautiful label?
Peter Zec: Sometimes it’s like that. If you don't know what to go by, the only thing that remains is the aesthetic impression. The design is the first step to the product.

So good graphic design is still in demand.
It is the whole linchpin of communication. Design establishes the first contact with the brand. How else can it draw attention to itself? After all, the product can’t talk.


Keyword digitalisation: Thanks to all the programs, design has become much easier. But does easy access also contribute to a lack of creativity and skill?
Absolutely. Our lives are becoming more and more aesthetic, just look at the stagings on social media. But you have to see that this is part of an aestheticisation toward mediocrity. We have a tremendous massification of aesthetic approaches, but quality often falls by the wayside. That alone makes a good graphic design or design degree worthwhile. People who have an eye for it and can still do some manual work are very much in demand. That also applies to cars!


Design and the market, that requires compromises. No capital, no work – what do designers need today to survive?
Above all, good customers. Design is a service and not a free creative achievement. Many designers have to learn that first, especially in the graphics field. Most of them often think that it’s about realizing themselves and then getting a client who will spend money on the result. This is usually not the case. You need good, potent, but also courageous clients who are also willing to follow the designer and his ideas to some extent.

After all, many German agencies have branches in Switzerland.
Switzerland is not a big country, but it is a very potent one. Here you have the banks, the pharmaceutical industry, the watch industry, but also the food industry – that means endless work. We have just awarded MetaDesign as agency of the year at Red Dot. They are headquartered in Berlin, but they also have offices in Zurich and Lausanne. Of course, they also have offices all over the world, but in tiny Switzerland, of all places, there are two close to each other. That’s quite remarkable.



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