Hernandez first stumbled across industrial design when a friend mentioned that he was looking into the industrial design program at Western Michigan University. Now, Hernandez runs Tiger Studio, a product design firm based in Holland.
How would you differentiate the fields of art and design?
They’re completely different things, completely different ways of thinking. Art is something beautiful that people can admire and be inspired by, perhaps. Design, from an industrial design standpoint, is literally coming up with new ideas and things to commercialize. It’s very much about solving problems in the business world.
Is design a luxury?
It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. … Design, at least for us, has evolved into this uncovering of new opportunities. When you bring someone else in like a designer who thinks differently and looks at things objectively, that has become extremely valuable. Firms … who have used industrial design as leverage have seen a significant impact. It’s almost like, in today’s world, nobody has the luxury not to use design. … You have to be able to compete. I think what we’re finding is that you can no longer afford to be a commodity. Companies are using firms like ours to develop a product strategy and uncover those new opportunities and then actually implement those opportunities.
How do you define design?
Design, in our field, is a creative process to discover and create new ideas and things. A lot of it has to do with benchmarking research and exploring opportunities and then deciding what to refine and move forward with. I see the use of the design process in the structure of an organization, as well as using that thinking to solve problems. That’s where I see design going.