Q&A with designer Julia Landsiedl

03 April 2014

Julia Landsiedl started her design career with a Master’s in Law – as a copywriter in advertising and branding. She went on to study Product and Process design in Vienna and Berlin, before working for the design consultancy, IDEO, in Silicon Valley. However, she has now returned to Vienna to open her own studio in 2008 and since then has been working on a variety of projects and products. Julia's main focus is three dimensional storytelling – developing and staging the stories, services and spaces that surround an object or a brand. Julia's awards include the Nespresso Sustainability Design (2nd prize) and the BMUKK outstanding artist award for experimental design.

1. Do you have a signature style and/or specific approach to your work?

It’s analytical yet playful with a peculiar passion for humble everyday objects. Some might say, I design stories not things.

2.  What's your favourite design object or product (excluding your own) and why?

Drop action pencils – love the sound!

3.  Which trends do you think have an influence on design today?

Are shrinking resources a trend? If not the key words would be "DIY", "sustainability" and "social". Let’s hope that lasts.

4.  What is the biggest challenge that you, as a designer, are currently facing in relation to your work?

Design has to seem light and effortless, but is often the result of hard work. It’s something clients need to learn (and learn to pay for).

5.  Some people say "imitation is the highest form of flattery" - do you agree?

No I don’t. But as far as the formal aspect of a product is concerned, there simply is (almost) nothing new under the sun. Luckily design is about much more than shape.

6.  It is common practice for designers to look to a variety of sources for inspiration. Sometimes there is a fine line between inspiration and copying. How do you deal with this challenge?

Eclecticism, thus I take the world apart and re-assemble it. No one ever complained.

7. Does Intellectual Property have an effect on your work?

I think most people do not really know what Intellectual Property is/means. That is problematic.

8.  What's your experience with the exploitation of design as Intellectual Property? 

Nowadays a lot of design work happens in varying, project-specific teams. Often there is no formal contract concerning those collaborations and their outcome. People are  more like "Hey, let’s work together and see what happens!", which can be problematic as soon as there is something to exploit. Personally I prefer more formal collaborations.


Image of Julia Landsiedl

Julia Landsiedl
www.jeplus.at