The main challenge for the designers today: get the message through with as little noise as possible!

August 5, 2014

Interview with Robert Daniel Nagy, Balticbest 2014 jury member

Robert Daniel Nagy, born in 1981, is a graphic designer from Copenhagen, Denmark. His conceptual and idea-based approach to design gives him a contemporary and bold visual style with roots in Scandinavian simplicity. He strongly believes that the future belongs to those that dare to challenge the ordinary and strives to incorporate this philosophy into his work.

His work has been recognized by the likes of D&AD, Cannes Lions, Clio Awards, Creative Circle, Danish Design Award, Eurobest and German Design Award. In 2011 Robert joined Halbye Kaag JWT as Head of Design, setting up a new design department to help the agency transform from traditional advertising to a full-service agency. During this process Halbye Kaag JWT has received much national and international recognition, including Danish Agency of the Year 2013 and most recently, a Silver Design Lion at the Cannes Lions.

There is a lot of talk about service design these days. Is it something graphic designers should do in the future?

Good design should evolve around a product – make a service better and easier to communicate. Service design is something that I do daily. I definitely think that in the future service design will become more relevant. There is so much going on today that there is no room for unnecessary information also meaning visual noise (as I call it).

Today it’s not enough to make a great logo or a poster. From the business plan to the service – everything has to be cohesive.

Denmark represents Nordic design: pure and simple. Baltic design is very much influenced by this approach. What are the chances of the Nordic design approach becoming successful in the world? Is it an export opportunity?

Scandinavian simplicity can absolutely be exported! This approach is all about getting into the core of a problem and communicating as simply as possible. That’s very much relevant to all countries around the world: get the message through with as little noise as possible.

Simplicity is a way of thinking which almost anyone can learn.

What would be your advice to future designers? Apart from the skills they’re learning already, what else should they consider?

The future designer has to be a great thinker, not only a visual person. Understand how to work strategically on whatever they’re doing and find the initial uniqueness in the product. It’s also important to have guts to brake a category with a disruption.

I can see amongst my students that the biggest mistake they’re making is focusing too much on aesthetics and making something just visually pleasing. They’re not considering other aspects. A great designer is interested in different subjects. At the end of the day we have to sell a shoe and at the same time create visuals for a bank.

The digital part can’t be ignored. I teach my team to think three-dimensionally as 3D printing is going to be a major thing in the near future. IT skills and coding will in one way or another become a second language for future generations.

At a certain degree, designers need to understand the business side as it really adds to the thought process. It doesn’t mean studying in business school by any means, but having some key knowledge.

Interviewed by Hando Sinisalu, Best Marketing International