Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2016 - Interview with Simon Kidd from Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design is dedicated to making highest quality video affordable to everyone – an approach that has had a lasting impact on the industry in the past 15 years. The products combine a user focus and innovative technology with a design and a pricing structure that make them relevant not just for professionals but also for consumers. In recent years, the Blackmagic Industrial Design Team under the leadership of Simon Kidd has recorded notable successes in the Red Dot Award: Product Design. Red Dot talked to him about his work at Blackmagic Design.

What does Blackmagic Design stand for?
Blackmagic Design is dedicated to making the highest quality video affordable to everyone. Design plays an integral role in achieving this, it’s part of our DNA. Can you sum up Blackmagic Design’s design philosophy in just a few words? Our key philosophy is to integrate design into the complete product development process. Rather than superficially wrapping styling around a product, we leverage it in every part of the creation process.

Could you please describe the design process at Blackmagic Design?
Very collaborative. We have a tight-knit team that has worked together for a long time. We bounce ideas off each other to quickly solve problems and come up with the best solution. The process is fluid and we move fast. We’ve developed some key pieces of intellectual property around the process of industrial design; this has enabled us to drive product development cycles with far greater speed and efficiency than many other brands in the space. Being first to market with new technologies, in well designed high quality products, has been rewarded with loyal customers who really appreciate what we do.

And how do you maintain a consistent design language?
We make a wide range of products for many different segments of the video production industry. They’re designed for quite different functions, users and environments. But rather than trying to create a singular visual language, we prefer to unite the products through their inherent qualities. We design the products to reflect the Blackmagic Design brand through physical aspects such as materials, finishes, internal structures, and key touch points such as latches, buttons and connections. We don’t believe that our products need to look the same, but they do need to exude the same qualities. Across more than 100 product lines, used in a wide range of environments, this is tricky to achieve. It requires a great deal of discipline, adhering to a robust design process and staying true to the brand.

How do you enjoy working with your customers?
There is a privilege in creating for a creative industry – they appreciate the effort. Prior to Blackmagic the industry was dominated by bland utilitarian design that was forced on users in overly expensive and complicated products. Our end users are highly creative, and highly technically skilled people. There are similarities with industrial designers. We want them to enjoy using their products and appreciate the thought we’ve put in – much the same as we do.

What does it mean to you to be the Red Dot: Design Team of the Year?
It’s an incredible honour for our team and the entire Blackmagic Design business. To be recognised among the top design-led businesses in the world truly endorses our commitment to making the highest quality video affordable to everyone through really well designed, high-quality and innovative products. We’re a young company with an evolving design legacy and we consider this to be validation of the work that we’ve done to date … and inspiration for the team to go forward.

With the exhibition "Creative Video Revolution by Blackmagic Design", the “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2016" presents their know-how in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen until 28 August.