David is of Welsh origin, though born in the Netherlands, where he studied interaction design at the pioneering Utrecht School of the Arts while running his own animation studio, two very separate disciplines at the time. Before joining Namahn, David was for many years a Lecturer and Coach at Eindhoven University’s Faculty of Industrial Design and managed a one-man interaction design, design coaching and visual communication consultancy, Gamut, in Amsterdam.
Why did you move to Namahn?
I decided to focus my energies in one place and deepen my interaction design skills. I was open to a move abroad and Belgium seemed appealing! When researching the major players on the market I quickly discovered Namahn. It felt right: a clear job description and focus, but an open culture, both internally and towards the outside world. Teaming is central at Namahn and this is important to me. The most successful moments of my life were as part of a team.
How would you describe your approach to design?
I have a broad outlook on life and a broad skills base, which as well as interaction design includes web and graphic design, video, software development and prototyping. But it is in interaction design that my interests and natural qualities meet. I take a holistic approach. I strongly believe it’s valuable to be aware of every aspect of a product, from the design and technology to marketing, when conceiving its interactions. Our profession involves a good deal of logic, of course, but human intuition also plays a big role. I look for where the magic happens. Then I figure out how to make it work in order to improve someone’s life or experience.
Does teaching remain important to you?
Certainly, and at Namahn I’ll also enjoy opportunities to train and coach non-designers and juniors, plus lead workshops with clients. My many years at Eindhoven University confirmed my love of teaching and informed and structured my approach. Eindhoven is a very interesting faculty focusing only on intelligent products, those with a software component. The learning model is also unique: students choose their own subjects and set goals. They are taught to really think about what they do. We guide and coach their development, and instead of grades, we give them detailed feedback. As a Coach, I was actively involved in their team projects. There is nowhere else in the world you can see so many exciting, innovative ideas, except perhaps at Namahn?
Will you be introducing any innovative ideas at Namahn?
At Eindhoven I explored how to incorporate video as a tool in research, for making context registrations, to capture and communicate ideas to others. Video can be a powerful communicator, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. For example, when used in a project storyboard, it can help a client convince other stakeholders. It brings ideas to life and offers great potential. Watch this space (screen)…
Do you have any passions outside work?
I love electronic music and I occasionally DJ, and several years ago I helped to set up a “visual music” platform (NOTV) for VJs… But I do have two new passions (outside my girlfriend of course)! The first is fencing, which is driven by a combination of youthful memories of watching ‘Robin Hood’ and enjoying the fun/game aspect of the sport. The second is Rock & Roll dancing, again great fun. Finally, I’m a huge sci-fi buff: anything from books and films to comic strips. The ‘Star Wars’ films made a massive impression on me as a young child, as did the cult film ‘Dune’. They never lose their magic.