New Jersey-based product designer Vjeko Miloradovic has designed products for Armani, Ferrari, and Fossil. We asked him about these projects as well as his philosophy behind sketching everyday objects.
Tell us about your #CopicColors piece for March.
I got this little guy done for two simple reasons. First, the majority of frogs are green and given the colors of March were three shades of green it seemed like a good choice. Secondly, frogs have always fascinated me.
What brought you to art? Tell us about yourself and your journey becoming an artist.
At a very early age I was drawn to pen and paper. I remember drawing, tracing and painting no matter where I was, including at school and at home. At some point, people around me started to take notice of what I was creating.
What ultimately led you to product design?
Beside my passion for fine art, there was always a technical aspect that I was interested in. I quickly found out that art combined with the technical aspect, manufacturing, construction, etc. is called industrial or product design. I was lucky enough to learn and perfect my craft in Sweden, which is one of the world's leading countries when it comes to "smart design" - meaning timeless, simplistic form and function, environmentally conscious design, all the while remaining beautiful.
You've worked for some pretty big clients, including Armani, Fossil, Ferrari, and Porsche. Tell us about this work. Which projects are you most proud of?
Yes, big clients and companies but more importantly, I have worked on many amazing projects with really talented people. What stands out as a special moment in my career has been the opportunity to meet and work side-by-side with some of the greatest in the business, like Mr. Armani or Mr. Manzoni at Ferrari. These people are visionary, great mentors and I was inspired just by being in the same room with them and observing the way they work. Another very important moment outside of my professional career is when Scott Robertson, well-respected concept artist, took notice of my work on Instagram. He was instrumental in driving my passion to do better and do more throughout the late ‘90s and ‘00s.
What’s your philosophy behind collaboration and the importance of process when it comes to design?
Collaboration is key in a corporate environment. When working on a project with my designers, it's a team effort. The focus is never on which person gets credit for an individual design, it's about how we work together as a group. Putting multiple brains together and fusing talents and skill sets can truly bring out the best results.
Early design stages are the most important, brainstorming as a team and understanding the brief. Spending a proper amount of time defining the direction allows the execution to come together effortlessly and be successful.
I like to give the opportunity to every team member to evaluate ideas and select the best ones. This approach goes back to the study where group of people will always be closer to the correct answer by averaging the answers than the answer of one human no matter how smart he might be. Embrace the team, cross collaboration and forget personal recognition - share the success and have fun.
Why do you find it so important to illustrate everyday objects in a quick-sketch format?
I appreciate creativity. Talent is what you are given, but creativity cannot be taken for granted. I have days when I’m not creative and I wish I was. The way I reduce those types of days is sketching and looking for inspiration. I love the concept of Instagram and other platforms - designers and artists are like family, we “draw” the same language and I contribute by continuing to create, in this case a quick sketch or a drawing. It’s not how much time I’m spending but how often. It’s my “creative workout”.
Lately, you’ve been teaching at Montclair State University. What advice do you have for students who are aspiring product designers?
I'm lucky to be working for a company that has a great history of helping students through teaching, whether at a university or through an intern program. My advice to students is to work hard, follow their dreams and stay humble in this game.
If you could design a product for anyone in the world, what would it be and/or who would it be for?
If you look at my Instagram account, you'll see that watches, motorcycles, shoes and furniture are some of my favorite products. That's what I've enjoyed lately, but it's constantly evolving by what inspires me. I don't think there has ever been just one dream product or design - it's more just a reflection of who I am at the moment.
What are you currently working on, and what's next for you?
Day to day, I am driving the creative process with a talented team of people, but beside that there are always little projects I’m trying to complete and stay relevant in this ever changing fast paced design tech world. Can’t blink an eye, you might miss the opportunity of a lifetime!
Learn more about February's #CopicColors.