Hi, I'm Mike.
At Morrama we’re big fans of our blog posts and as the new Lead Designer I thought it was time that I introduce myself and contribute to the thread.
I joined Morrama to try and fill the shoes of our then outgoing co-founder Rob Bye and support the team in whatever capacity I could. I’m a dyed in the wool industrial designer with a love for ideas, beautiful objects and an obsession for theory, semiotics and the ephemeral and intangible qualities of design that verges on nerdiness. Early stage ideation, the ‘feel’ of a product, how it makes people feel and how it looks are what really excite me about design and luckily working with startups provides ample opportunity for this.
For the most part startups are unfettered and keen to push the boundaries that have constrained all the similar typologies that have come before and want to make their fortunes by challenging those ideals and preconceptions.
So, understandably, startups come to Morrama for a number of reasons, whether it’s to help them with fundraising, to liaise with manufacturers, for advice on strategy or to create a strong brand identity for their fledgling companies. Mostly, however, they ask us for product design and for innovation and a large part of that responsibility falls on me. I’ve been part of the team at Morrama for 6 months now and have worked with startups from the wearable tech field, luggage, consumer electronics and everything in between since joining Jo at Makerversity.
On the other side of the desk from me now are probably over 100 pages of sketches filled with ideas and it’s this work that I am most proud of and most enjoy. And I’m lucky that my job title as ‘Lead Designer’ means I spend much of my time sketching and designing things, but despite this, it’s not my talent for design which makes what Morrama can offer so valuable. It’s not even what enables us to create beautifully designed, intuitive and innovative product. Rather, it’s the relationship that I have with our co-founder Jo.
Surprisingly (for her as much as for me I’m sure), we have quickly developed a natural, robust, meaningful and astute partnership. We’re good friends and our design outlook and philosophy are nearly identical. Our approaches however are at near opposite ends of the spectrum and I think that it’s these differences that make what Morrama can offer so great. And as the relationship gets stronger and grows it will only serve to strengthen and grow our design studio even more, but only if we manage to maintain our differences.
My value as a designer comes in the form of ideas, innovation, styling, design thinking and design psychology and although I do have a practical understanding, it’s not what gets me out of bed in the morning but my weaknesses are Jo’s strengths and vice versa. Jo is one of the most talented and driven designers I have ever known. She’s analytical and meticulous with an unrivalled eye for detail and an unparalleled skill for problem solving and the two of us together in a room create a formidable pairing that I believe really can tackle any design challenge presented. So despite the fact that I probably spend more time putting pencil to paper or path to artboard than Jo, if it wasn’t for her my ideas would never leave the page.
In part these differences have been fostered by our respective backgrounds and educations. My Central St. Martin’s pedigree is the butt of many jokes in the office about a perceived ‘artsy-fartsy’ attitude, but it has equipped me with a blue-sky optimism, creative outlook and lateral mind that Jo’s Brunel education put less emphasis on. But I am beyond envious of the incredible core skill-set, entrepreneurial spirit and deep practical understanding that I wish I had been exposed to earlier on.
So at its helm Morrama has the coupling of the practical and the exploratory, the feasible and the impossible, the systematic with the experimental and although we’re not quite at the point of having our core values chiselled into the studio wall, these qualities definitely create the foundation of Morrama and what we can offer as a team.