I’ve always been fascinated with the thought process and attention to detail that goes into creating a product from idea to conception. Lately, BlackBerry has won some notable design awards including a prestigious Red Dot Award for many members of our BlackBerry 10 lineup, an iF Design award for the BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Z3 and a Good Design award for the BlackBerry Z30 as well. The design community is really starting to take notice.
Last year I received an interesting email from film producer and music composer, Ryan Freeman of Freeman House Productions, based in Toronto, Canada. Ryan had seen some recent buzz about the award-winning BlackBerry Design team and wanted to feature one of our designers for their short film series called The Guild Series. Specifically, he wanted to speak to Joseph Hofer, Senior Industrial Designer, who has worked on projects including the BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Passport.
The Guild Series takes you through an inside look of at the creative process of some the creative minds, whether it’s a Music Producer, City Planner, Photographer, Graphic Designer, Fashion Designer, and now an Industrial Designer.
Grab a coffee, and check out the latest short film in the Guild Series on Joseph Hofer.
We sat down with Ryan to hear more about the Guild Series and what he learned about BlackBerry product design from Joseph.
Kiyomi: What is the Guild Series and why did you start it?
Ryan: In the early days of building Freeman House Productions, it was very important to us to establish our purpose and vision. We want to always produce content that matters and has an impact. The Guild Series is our passion project that showcases our services in a unique way, apart from our usual client projects. For each Guild Series short film we create an original musical score. The goal through this series is to authentically capture each person’s creative process, journey and life, with the hopes of inspiring others to pursue their talents. We created this series to celebrate the creative spirit in us all.
Kiyomi: You reached out to us to participate in the Guild Series, why did you want to feature Joseph?
Ryan: Being based in Toronto, Canada, I wanted to feature Canadian creatives and share their journey and talent with the world. I’ve always loved the design of BlackBerry devices, and I thought to myself:, Someone with great taste is making these phones. I noticed BlackBerry designers aren’t really in the public light. After doing some digging, I found a few interviews with a designer by the name of Joseph Hofer, an industrial designer at BlackBerry. His long list of iconic products astonished me, and I knew I wanted to meet him. So, I reached out to you to see if he would be interested in being featured in our series. I’m excited for our short film to be released for the world to see and hear.
Kiyomi: What did you learn about industrial design or BlackBerry product design from this project?
Ryan: I learned a lot. Firstly, “it takes a village…” Obviously, BlackBerry is a big company and the development of their products involves a lot of people, but I didn’t realize to what extent cooperation and collaboration played a part in the design process. It’s not one ‘Rock Star’ designer calling all the shots; I’ve observed that it’s a team effort. Secondly, after spending time with Joseph and developing a friendship with him, I’ve learned how compassionate and empathetic Joseph is for the end user and how that drives everything that goes into the product. Lastly, I learned that industrial design is inspired by different objects and aspects of life, for example, the new BlackBerry Passport’s structure being derived from the I-Beam in construction seen in the Mies van de Rohe architecture we featured in the film.
Kiyomi: Did anything really surprise you?
Ryan: Well, really, I was pleasantly surprised by Joseph’s character. I’m sure it is easy to get caught up in ego, being an accomplished award-winning designer where millions of people interact and rely on your product every day. On the contrary, Joseph is a humble and thoughtful individual. His fingerprint has impacted millions of lives, yet he still remains behind the scenes along with the rest of the designers at BlackBerry.
Kiyomi: What were your first impressions of the BlackBerry Passport?
Ryan: I actually have a few notable first impressions. I love how wide the screen is. Joseph showed me how the screen fits 60 characters across the screen, a lot more than other phones out there. My first thought was how useful that would be for me to use writing emails, reading articles and watching video content; especially given what I do. My other impression is of the keyboard, I love that BlackBerry is embracing their roots with a physical keyboard and I know a lot of people love BlackBerry for the keyboard. I like that the Passport design embraces that vision and customer demand. Lastly of course, the shape and overall slick design of the phone; it’s different from any other phone out there in the market, which is impressive.
Click here, to learn more about the Guild Series, and Freeman House Productions.
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