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Prof. Mathis Heller: The Real Value of Design

Peking University, Oct. 31, 2014: “Design is everything, and everything is design”, said Professor Mathis Heller in his recent speech at PKU. He is a cross-over automotive and product designer and now the chief designer of WeLL Design, one of the top design agencies in Holland.

The speech “The Real Value of Design” was delivered on October 16th as one of the De Tao Talks during the 2014 PKU International Cultural Festival. In the speech, Professor Mathis Heller shared his ideas and experiences about product design and innovation.

Professor Mathis Heller started from his own experience as a designer, and pointed out four factors that should be taken into account to make a good design: people’s needs, business benefits, technical functions, and environmental and moral issues. Marketability, practicability and designability, in his opinion, are equally important in product design.

In order to explain the real value of design, he brought up several principles which make the product beneficial to companies, customers and designers at the same time: appealing appearances, direct expression of brand value, friendly user experience, advanced software and hardware interface, reduced production cost, etc.

Professor Mathis Heller further elucidated these principles with five cases, noting that a good design is a significant strategy for start-ups. One case he gave is the improvement of the automatic faucet. By adding a screen offering directions to users and a thermostat to the faucet, he made the faucet cooler in look as well as user-friendlier in use, which helped promote the business of a start-up that has grown into a company with ten years history now.

Besides, he talked about other cases such as the “out-door office” of the technology park in Holland and the new style of car for only one or two users, suggesting that the value of product can be improved by design through the advancement of user experience and other ways. He said that currently the advancing technology, such as 3D printing, was requiring designers to change their linear design ideas into something more sustainable.

At the end of his speech, Professor Mathis Heller pointed out that designers needed to design together and create together in the future.



Background Information:

Starting from 2004, PKU International Cultural Festival has been held annually for ten years till now, aiming to display exotic culture and enhance international and multicultural communication at PKU. The theme this year is “Novel, Enthusiastic, Wide”.

De Tao Group is a knowledge-and-innovation-oriented conglomerate. It aims to congregate world-class masters, collect industrial wisdom, nurture professional elites, and fuel corporate development. Since 2010, De Tao has recruited over 500 masters from diverse industrial background including industrial design, visual arts, innovative education, new media, etc.

Professor Mathis Heller is a world-famous automotive and product designer. He is now Chief Designer of WeLL Design, one of the top design agencies in Holland. His out-standing talent in the industrial field is recognized internationally. Some of his representative awards are: several Red Dot and iF Design Awards, including the Red Dot Design Award Best of the Best and the iF Design Gold Award and several nominations of Design Awards of Germany, Dutch Design Awards and the Volvo Sports Design Award.

Written by: Wu zhangxin’an
Edited by: Choisum Kwok
Source: Office of International Relations