Dean Heckler is an industrial designer and principal designer at his own firm, Heckler Design, based in Phoenix, Arizona. Dean is passionate about simplicity, striving to make status quo products simple, more functional and aesthetically pleasing. He works day and night to improve his designs, in an effort to make his end-customers happy. Dean using his company as a “playground to realize his ideas and to work with positive, energetic people”. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Dean Heckler.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
I focus on simplicity and smart design, always trying to eliminate the unnecessary. Since everything is made in the USA, I’m also cognizant to design for U.S. manufacturing.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
New projects start based on discontent. I tend to look at other existing products then generate fresh ideas of how that class of products could be designed and made better.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
I’m inspired by the people who typically wouldn’t be considered the “creatives” – the manufacturers who make the products I design a reality. The ones who know the craft of bending and welding the metal, and setting up the laser cutters, they always rise to the challenge even when I have difficult designs. So they allow me to be creative by pushing the limits on what can be fabricated accurately and repetitively.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
Because product design is such a long haul, for me it’s often more about motivation. For me, that motivation is often dissatisfaction with what is currently on the market. My motivation is to simplify it.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
I had other careers before this that I liked, but the work wasn’t rewarding enough for me. Designing real-world objects is something I really enjoy doing, so I’m continually motivated to keep coming up with fresh designs. As for advice, I would say keep on looking for the thing that you deeply enjoy doing just for the sake of doing it. Once you’ve found that thing, figure out how to earn a living from it.
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