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Nicholas Baker

Nicholas Baker is a Brooklyn-based designer born and raised in North Carolina. Read more

Q & A

What inspires you (in design or in life)?

I find a lot of inspiration from the mundane interactions of daily life. That could be a simple mechanism or a familiar form. Living in the city, I often find it a fun exercise to zoom in on small details of our constructed world. It’s fun to discover a new form by looking at a detail on a traffic cone or find a new mechanism by looking at a door hinge.

What is your design philosophy?

I always strive to add just a hint of value in every design I do. I think that great designs balance a perfectly executed product with just a touch of thoughtfulness or cleverness. It doesn’t take much, and it’s very easy to cross the line of cleverness into kitsch. I’ve been practicing restraint in my designs lately, really trying to distill down a design to its essence. At the end of the day, as long as I can bring a smile to the user, I count it as a success.

What is your process for creating compelling designs?

There's a whole range of techniques I use to come up with interesting concepts. One of the core foundations of my studio is experimentation. Constantly exploring new tools and processes opens up uncharted design territory. I've been using virtual reality as a tool for fast pace iteration and spatial evaluation. Time saved in the iteration phase allows for more time to build and evaluate designs. Being able to step away from a design and let the subconscious mind distill the form is a key part of creating new ideas. Physical model making is another invaluable part of my studio’s process. When designing physical products, it’s extremely important to be able to touch and experience the materials and forms. Experimenting and playing with these physical materials can lead to unexpected surprises and interactions that can drive the design.

What do you do when you're not designing?

Haha, well I love design. I feel like my design switch was turned on and then someone broke the knob off and I can't stop. That being said, I really enjoy engaging with the creative community online through my podcast, minor details. I cohost it with my good friend James Connors. We talk about industrial design and bring guests on to share their experiences. I've also founded a small design brand, almost object. The focus is to produce and sell products that are experimental and push the boundaries of what an object can be. I've designed and produced a small collection of everyday objects, and hope to collaborate with other designers to bring their experimental products to life.

Balancing the familiar with the unconventional.