I'm an industrial designer by background, but I'm also a generalist in that I prefer not to specialise. My experience has taken me through corporate, consulting, and independent design work. I use a range of skills from concept design and sketching, to 3D modelling and rendering, to writing, video production, and branding.
Industrial design is the planning, visualisation, and fabrication of much of our physical reality. It's so pervasive that it is almost invisible to most people. Its impact however is not. Industrialisation now defines everything from our food to single use packaging to the way we consume information. We can design and make anything and distribute it in the millions, and this comes with a measure of care and responsibility that is often forgotten for the sake of commercial dominance. On the flip side design has also been turned into an insular, academic, and theoretical phenomena which tosses aside the foundations of making and doing. In the end I consider design to be a verb, not a noun. It's a doing word. But it's the balance of thinking and doing that interests me the most; creating only that which carefully considers the whole.
Check the menu above for what I've done, what I do, and what I'm on the way to doing. Also take a peek at Design in the Field for how I can help you discover your next big (or little) thing, using all the skills I have ay my disposal.
Below is a little more about me.
I've lived in 25 different houses and apartments, in 7 cities, on 3 continents. I went to 14 different schools and educational institutions. Growing up with constant disruption had a lasting effect. Even the place I now call home is still foreign, and while that comes with a measure of discomfort it means I can't help but to look at everything with a curious and critical eye, as if it's always new. It also means that I automatically try and see the whole at the same time as the detail. What things are made of, where they were made, who made them, and why they were made are always front-and-centre questions. Of course the most perplexing questions are often: why do some cars look like they were designed in the dark? Or if a table wobbles, can you even call it a table if it doesn't do the one job it was designed for?
Anyway... here's some places I've lived.
I first experienced Chicago as a second-year design student. While visiting Motorola's downtown studio I had the chance to present my portfolio to the design team, and the following year I was offered a summer internship. This lead to full time employment with Motorola's Consumer Experience Design (CXD) group, which was exciting, overwhelming, frustrating, and enlightening. I worked on a variety of concept and production programs, and focused significant efforts towards sustainability as an eco design lead. I did research in Brazil, a project for Burton, and worked with the Beckhams (and that's just the B's). After Motorola I returned to Chicago to work at MNML, a small yet highly influential consultancy with a high calibre of clients such as Microsoft, Nike, and Dell. To this day I continue to work with Chicago consultancy Magic+Might on a broad range of projects where design, interaction, research, prototyping, and future vision are core values.
Of all the places I've lived Detroit was the most formative. I spent 4 years living downtown while studying at the College for Creative Studies (CCS). In the early 2000's Detroit was only slowly being rebuilt, and still full of empty high rises, barren lots, and half-burned houses. History was everywhere and yet simultaneously swept under the rug. I was fortunate enough to emerge with a solid portfolio a few good, talented, and real friends that I still have to this day. I'm also lucky enough to be back in Detroit frequently to see how much it has - at least on the surface - changed for the better. Click here to watch the above video in full.
Los Angeles, a nice place to visit, and an even nicer place to leave (just kidding). After 5 years in LA and a high school experience that I could only describe as deeply challenging, I had mixed feelings about moving back to Australia. Endless freeways woven through a complex cultural fabric, there was always something new to do and see in LA. My first car gave me the autonomy to explore it all, and some of my fondest memories are of driving with the sunroof open on a cool night, heater on my feet, with Massive Attack blaring on the radio. It was in LA that conversations with my dad awoke an interest in design, and as a teenager I was lucky enough to be able to wander the hallways of the ArtCenter College of Design in awe of what was being created.
Montreux, Switzerland, was beautiful, idyllic, and full of the best cheese, chocolate, and pocket knives money could buy. So naturally I hated it. To be fair I was 11, missing friends and family, and was struggling to pick up the language after being dropped into a traditional, French-speaking school. Switzerland is one of those places that I appreciate more in retrospect. The ski slopes were only an hour away by train, and everything was clean, ordered, and on time (maybe a little too much so). After a year there I was near fluent in French but hadn't been able to learn anything else - no maths (which I can't even do in english) science, or otherwise. This is one of many things that made re-assimilation back into Australian schooling and culture quite a challenge. Try explaining to a 5th grade teacher that you don't understand fractions, but that you can conjugate French verbs in your sleep. C'est la vie.
© copyright 2018 Leon Fitzpatrick