“We make promises” | Katapult Design’s Simple Truth About Being A Designer
I had an old colleague and friend of mine, Mark Johnson, say something quite profound to me recently. Remembering a conversation we’d had over a beer some years ago about how proud he was of Outerspace Design’s 30+ year history and long term influence over the Australian industrial design landscape, I had rung him to pick his brains regarding our own (smaller) legacy as a design consultancy.
In addition to some well-trodden banter about the company being bigger than the individual and the importance of treating every client, project and team member as special, he said a simple phrase that will stick with me.
‘We make promises.’
It is a simple truth of being a designer. We make promises to clients that we can solve their challenges and then we move heaven and earth to keep those promises. Clients believe in us and we back our process, our people and our partnerships to bring the magic.
I think that’s probably one of the things we love most about being designers. Clients invest their faith and their money in our team (and it is definitely a team, not any one individual) to deliver surprise and delight. To provide that spark of creativity and brilliance that others can’t.
When we get it right it is a potent mix of excitement and pride. When it doesn’t quite work, we inevitably circle back around and go again. Ideate, prototype, test, refine and repeat. This resilience is just as much a part of product design success as any inspiring idea or single moment of enlightenment.
Although my conversation with Mark started with a quite personal aim of trying to unpack some thoughts about Katapult and our own 15 year journey, I came to realise that what we do as industrial designers is really a much larger movement with a great many success stories. We must never lose sight of how important it is that we be generous and supportive to all who make the promise.
Founder & CEO
18 January 2024