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Good luck! ... and almost 30 years of WILDDESIGN.


Good luck! ... and almost 30 years of WILDDESIGN.

This September, we at WILDDESIGN are celebrating our 30th anniversary. Over the past three decades, the one-man office from the Ruhr area has grown into a thoroughly presentable company with offices in Germany and China.

We thought about different ways to celebrate and remember this success later in the year.

Like the rest of the world, we were brought to an abrupt halt by COVID-19 - initial amazement quickly turned to panic and ultimately, in addition to the health threat, we are left with an uncertain feeling for the future.

In order to "flatten the curve", we need to keep our distance from each other, isolate ourselves and be separate. However, this does not mean that we cannot connect with each other, on the contrary, it is precisely in these frightening times that we absolutely must. Even though it is uncertain when we will be able to hug or shake hands, we have decided to get in touch with many great people who have been instrumental in making WILDDESIGN what it is today.

We reminisced about the time we worked with them in an office and learned about their current interests and projects. As we are all scattered around the world, some of us more exposed to the dangers of the crisis than the others, we also wanted to learn how COVID-19 affects their daily lives.

We use the typical miners' greeting from the Ruhr region: Glück Auf! On the one hand, the miners wished themselves success, that they would come across rich coal seams underground, but the greeting also meant that they would come back to daylight healthy from a depth of more than 1000 meters at the end of the shift, which was not a matter of course at the time. A fitting greeting in the current crisis.

Here are the first 5 stories of our amazing WILDDESIGNers:

Gerhard Seizer, creative entrepreneur, wild spirit, who traveled around the world as an idea nomad and now has 20 years of international creative experience under his belt, took over the responsibility of building WILDDESIGN China from scratch in 2006. He officially stayed with us until 2013, but he is still a part of WILDDESIGN and represents everything we stand for.

"We were the first international design company in China and we managed to become one of the most important agencies in the country within the first year. I positioned WD China as a full-service creative agency with the USP (unique selling proposition) of supporting the process of brand and design transfer and WD as a cultural bridge between West and East."

Among the many projects Gerhard has led, Nomi Tang, which was awarded the RedDot 2010, stands out. WILDDESIGN Shanghai created a whole family of vibrators and the corresponding brand for the sex toys. "My designers were excited to develop such ergonomic and organic 3D shapes. But in all their excitement, they forgot one "small detail", they unfortunately lost sight of the real dimensions of the 3D data they were working on.

The first physical toy mock-ups arrived just 10 minutes before the customer himself. There they were in all their glory - almost a meter long and as thick as an upper arm. When the customer asked if this was a joke, I replied that it was standard practice - scaled 3D models to better check the complex curves and control the shape. He bought it".

The COVID-19 crisis hit him in Seattle, where he was employed by TEAGUE until June 2019 and then continued to work from home, so the COVID-19 stay-at-home regulations did not affect him as much. Unfortunately, Seattle is ground zero in the USA, so his wife also moved to the home office and his daughter is now at home too. As a nature and fresh air fanatic, he still enjoys going for walks with his family, but at a distance of five meters from other people.

"My biggest challenge - online shopping! It's the biggest change in my everyday life and I just can't stand it. Normally I'm guided by touch and feel, that just doesn't work online - hell on earth and it's driving me crazy!"

Good luck, Gerhard!

Good luck, Anton Shurygin!

Anton, the taciturn industrial designer from Moscow, joined WILDDESIGN Shanghai in August 2015 and stayed until 2019. "It was my first job in a foreign agency with foreign people. My very first day - after 10 hours in the air in a cab from the airport to the office, no idea what to do next and what kind of people I will meet. They were great, warm and welcoming! "I immediately felt like part of the family." "Commitment, empathy, talent and passion are the things I found here. In everyone at WD".

Of his many great works, the Rejoin project with its futuristic design language remains particularly memorable. "Even though I left the WD Shanghai office, I still feel like a "wild" designer - whatever that means . I am still in contact with almost everyone in my team".

He spent the time of the COVID-19 crisis in Shanghai. "I always imagined what it would look like when Shanghai was empty and never thought I would be able to see it! In the famous Yu Yuan Tea Garden, I was alone; the whole place was just mine. Quiet, deserted, but still lit up for a few loners, brave enough to pay a visit. A truly magical moment that only happens to you once in a lifetime".

Good luck, Anton!

Good luck, Alejandro Lara!

Ale joined our Gelsenkirchen office as an intern in February 2013. However, these short 6 months were not the end of our story together. After spending a year and a half in Austria designing open-air saunas (no idea how he could stand it for so long), he returned to us in 2015, started as an Industrial Designer in Shanghai and developed into a Senior Designer and Project Manager in 4 years.

He appreciates the spontaneity and familiarity of the team in Shanghai, which "felt more like a small family than just colleagues". He fondly remembers the day Anton joined the team: "It was a Friday, as usual we decided to have a beer after work. At first there were only 3 or 4 of us, but suddenly more and more came, almost the whole office was on the street, even a few alumni - a happening, that's Shanghai!"

"We had great projects in the fields of medicine and robotics. Including recognition from IF Awards and Reddot". His favorite project - Rejoin . "The team did a great job in developing a new design language, but each tool was its own challenge due to its different usability and ergonomic requirements. Understanding user needs and workflow was key to optimizing the products, which then worked much better than their benchmarks.

The COVID-19 crisis hit him in Melbourne, where he was working for Hydrix as a product designer and human factors consultant. The situation is generally being handled well and the switch to working from home is not seen as worrying, as working from home is already part of Australian culture.

Alejandro is not currently working, but he enjoys learning new skills, studying and spending time with his girlfriend. However, they are now facing a major challenge that many people around the world are facing. "The search for toilet paper. It's been almost four weeks and the shelves in the supermarkets are empty every time we go..."

Good luck, Ale!

Good luck, Nikolaos Politopoulos!

Nikolaos, the tall Greek designer, joined WD Gelsenkirchen as our intern in 2016. He stayed for six months. "The atmosphere in the office was relaxed, everyone could be creative but at the same time work in a well-organized and efficient way. In particular, working without shoes was bizarre and strangely satisfying." Nikolaos enjoyed the days when Simone brought the cute dog Roki with her. "Roki was an amazing colleague."

His favorite project: the first project he was allowed to work on - the Trotec BP5 food thermometer . "It's really cool to see your idea become a real product; that first one will always have a special place in my heart." While reflecting on his work on Trotec BP5, he said: "I think I should buy it before someone else redesigns it and mine disappears from the market!"

Nikolaos currently works at the University of the Aegean in the Department of Product and System Design in Syros. He is the head of the Integrated Design Laboratory, where prototypes are produced using modern and traditional techniques. He also supports teaching in various subjects such as CAD and technical drawing.

Greece has recently introduced a curfew. Leaving the house is only possible with special permission! Nikolaos is therefore working on developing online courses for the university. He spends his time at home with his family: "I think it's a good time for everyone to read books and be creative in every way while trying to keep a positive attitude.

Good luck, Nikolaos.

Good luck, Jasper Rehder!

Jasper was Brand Director in our Shanghai office for a far too short fourteen months in 2013. "Although that was my official job title, I like to think of myself as part of the team and the WD family. The camaraderie and special atmosphere of the working environment is something that is not easy to find in the large global agencies I have worked in since. (He is currently Strategy Director at McCann in Bath, U.K.)"

Favorite moments that took place during the shared lunch break at the local restaurant "Dongbei": "Those 45 minutes we spent together every day were worth as much as half a day for us as a team, strengthening bonds, exchanging cultures and sharing stories from our different backgrounds. I think many other countries and companies around the world could learn from this kind of quality time together and the tremendous value it brings to teamwork."

Favorite customer: Morris Cranes, a global crane construction company. "A very different experience for me, as I come from more of an FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) background. It has changed the way I approach projects since then. The fact that we were allowed to work holistically, from the branding to the advertising campaign and even the customer service platform, was a real bonus. Having so much control over the deliverables is a pleasure that you don't often get when working on global brands. "

After a self-imposed 'house arrest' to flatten the curve, Jasper is now working from home due to stricter social distancing measures in the UK. "In some ways it's like any other week for me as I'm used to working from home, but the thought of not being allowed to have a normal life outside the home is quite strange if I'm honest. Working from home day after day requires a lot of discipline and routine.

My secret tip is to shower and change your clothes at the end of the day. The psychology of transitioning from one phase of the day to the next really helps to stay sane. "And for those who fear the future, Jasper has a few words of encouragement: "Things will get worse before they get better - I believe in the resilience and ingenuity of humanity to solve almost any problem we face. His British bon mot could be loosely translated as: "Only the tough get into the garden!

Good luck, Jasper!

Thank you all for your 5 great stories. Alexandra is already working on the next ones. Let's see if we can make it to 30!

With this in mind, stay healthy and make good design!

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