Interview with designer Stefan De Pauw (SD), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Insectorama Drawing Templates.

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Interview with Stefan De Pauw at Tuesday 7th of June 2011: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
SD : I discovered laser cutting and DIY manufacturing a couple of years ago. Very fascinating that product design became suddenly available to the crowd, just like graphic design did before. I wanted to use those new options myself but now it’s hard to remember how I suddenly got the idea to make drawing templates. Possibly while playing Spore with my godchild on top of my lifelong fascination for insects.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
SD : I would like to get my design in production on a larger scale, make it available in stores. This will involve other production techniques and larger investments. Or maybe sell the concept. In the end I just want as many people as possible to be able to use them.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
SD : This is an in depth pursuit of an inspiration and also my first step in product design. I got inspired by the concept of laser cutting when I first saw the website. The discovery of this platform somehow spoiled me with a new array of creative possibilities but it took me a while to narrow them down into a good idea. I ordered my prototype at Ponoko and tested it out with a group of children who enjoyed it a lot. Then I finalised the templates and took care of packaging, personalised pencils, a website, a manual sheet, etc… Being a graphic designer myself this was a great self commissioned project to run from a to z.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
SD : My drawing sets are manufactured in small quantities and I still take care of the rest of the production, packaging, distribution, protection, layout, everything. I'm still figuring out which of both paths I will choose.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
SD : My main audience are children between 6 and 10 years old but I’m an avid user myself. And I know some other adults who thoroughly enjoy it. Ok, it is a toy for children but I hope to inspire them with my drawings, to show them how far they can push the results.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
SD : My drawing set contains only parts and no complete shapes.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
SD : Apart from a drawing set used to trace clothes onto human figures I was unable to find other similar products that offered only parts to combine and to stimulate the imagination of the users.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
SD : Figuring out everything by myself required a lot of research. From production techniques, dealing with manufacturers, protecting a design, how to sell it, … I still have a lot to learn. I also have a full time job as a graphic designer and it is sometimes a hectic combination with this pet project that suddenly starts to grow.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
SD : I follow the Ponoko blog and they have a regular overview of interesting competitions but I never found anything where I could apply for. So one lunch break I looked beyond that point and found the A’ Design Award website. That was 3 days before the 2010 deadline. The rest is history :-)

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
SD : That designing is indeed 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent transpiration.