I remember when I first heard of Design Inc. I was watching Marc Hemeon, live stream design portfolio reviews for his new startup. It was not only educational but also intriguing. I had no idea what the company was going to do but knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Design Inc. is a place where companies or individuals can get high-quality creative work on demand. Posting a project is free. Projects receive up to 5 proposals from the hand-curated design community. Designers pay a fee to send proposals, which helps ensure they are serious about working on the project.
In the beginning of January, I received an invite to join the Design Inc. design community. Seeing the variety of creative projects daily is promising. The talent of the design community is inspiring. I’m eager to give it a try as both a designer and a client in the coming months.
So when I had to interview someone for an article in Net Magazine, I knew who was at the top of my list. I reached out to Marc to find out more about Design Inc., his career, and the future of design tools. Here’s what he had to say.
What problem is Design Inc. trying to solve?
We are the engine of creative work. We help folks find and obtain high-quality design and creative services on-demand from the best talent in the world. Design Inc. is made up of designers of all types including those who specialize in User Experience, Visual Design, Interaction and Motion Design as well as a wonderful group of writers, photographers, illustrators, videographers and graphic designers.
Each creative on Design Inc. has been vetted and approved manually after a careful review of their portfolio and experience. Our focus this year is to help over 10,000 creatives do what they love.
Where did the idea come from?
By accident. Initially, Design Inc. started as an agency, but in a matter of weeks we became overwhelmed with hundreds of requests and projects. There had to be a better way to help all these folks seeking out design help. So we decided to build a hand-curated marketplace where companies & individuals can post their projects for free and receive proposals from excellent designers and creatives.
Can you tell me a little about the team building Design Inc.?
We have an incredible team and none of this would be possible without them. My Co-Founder Bjoern Zinssmeister (CTO) was with Match Group (Match, Tinder, OK Cupid) as well as a security startup called Synack, both of these companies served niche communities and he has a deep understanding of balancing out and growing the demand and supply side of these types of marketplaces.
We are also very lucky to have Joel Beukeleman as our Head of Design (he was formally with Google working on Android Auto and Netflix before that). In addition two incredible engineers, Matthias Kadenbach who worked closely with Bjoern at Synack and Mikey Wills who previously built a marketplace for user research in the healthcare field.
Every engineer on our team is also an excellent designer, Mikey was a fashion designer in his past life and Matthias has built incredible art installations using computer vision and of course, Bjoern helped design the Match Android and iOS app. Whenever we bring someone on we look for a deep love and appreciation of design.
Where do you see design tools in the future?
Figma has been the first browser-based design tool I have ever used regularly, I imagine XD, Sketch and other design tools will also move to the browser. Design tools are becoming simpler and easier to use which empowers more folks to be a designer, not just those who had the perseverance to push through learning Illustrator or Photoshop. With easier to use tools we will see a rush of folks calling themselves “designers”, but no tool can help you be a better problem solver and no tool is a substitute for good taste and instincts.
I believe anyone can learn the fundamentals of design. I see a world where all my design happens on my phone through connected apps and cloud storage. I come to work plug my phone into a monitor and keyboard jam on work, then take my phone out for a quick call or to go to lunch, come back and plug it into the monitor and my design work instantly pops up and I finish my work.
One of the biggest reasons design education is lacking for many in the world is because MacBook Pros and other software is cost prohibitive, so if we can figure out how to get world class tools working on devices that everyone in the world is using then we will see an explosion of digital creativity.
Is there anything you have learned in your career that has been surprising?
I have changed my opinion on what “Good Design” is. Good Design is mostly seen in the great design companies like Nike, Apple BMW etc. No one can argue their dedication to pushing form and function.
However, I have broadened my definition of Good Design to be when a designer can help another person solve their problem using the tools of design. Being “Good” means the designer solved your problem given the constraints of time, budget and resources. Design, at it’s heart, is the act of two people coming together to solve a problem.
Where do you see Design Inc. in 5 years?
Being a startup anything is possible. This year we are focused on making a difference in 10,000 peoples lives and helping companies get the help they deserve. If we can accomplish this then we can build out our platform and continue to help more people all over the world. If we are lucky enough to be around in 5 years then we will have been able to really make an impact and change how folks work.
A big thank you to Marc Hemeon for taking the time to share his wisdom. Be sure to also check out Design Inc., their free design templates, and UNDO, a weekly show about the convergence of design, tech and business.
An abbreviated version of this interview appears in the cover feature “The New Rules of UX” from the April 2017 issue (#291) of Net Magazine.