22 Jan Interview with Tobias Wibbeke
In 1999, during a marketing internship at a prominent IT company called Fujitsu Siemens, a dream was born. Here, the fascinating forum of color, shapes, and typography was enough to convince Tobias Wibbeke to merge into the fast-paced future of design. Years later he would go on to become the co-founder of Persuaid, a boutique design studio working in the field of branding and digital product development.
According to the team behind the enterprise— “Persuaid is an agile and powerful design agency for brand communication and interaction.” Their motto? Branding Digital First, Integrity Next! Catchy— as is their website, simplistically splayed with glossy endeavors in collaboration with companies such as posh Plume Interiors and storytelling with the Shaeffler group. What makes the Persuaid persona stand out from the rest? “We design unique brands, online and offline. In doing so, we create emotional added value and brand awareness that sets brands apart from the competition in the long term.” User-friendly is their site, which is understandable, as a user-centered mentality is Persuaid’s approach to client satisfaction.
“Our approach to design is pretty much inspired by user-centered design [in which] we are always setting out our design development from the view of the user, the brand, and its stakeholders. From that point on, we narrow down our insights to a particular communicative strategy which leads to the visual outcome for the desired approach,” Wibekke says. Combined with the user’s visual needs, Wibekke’s work implements a clean, abstract perspective with geometric forms within bold splashes of color. Makes sense, as the designer’s influences consist of the Bauhaus and a 1913 movement of art known as suprematism. The former was an early 1900’s German art school which combined crafts with fine arts, and according to the brander, that’s not the only old-school approach to his work. “As a most used tool of trade— my Stabilo 2988/HB, pretty old-school, I know,” Wibbeke teases. “For me, it’s the fastest connection between an idea and the visual appearance of it,” he adds. Fast connections aren’t the artist’s only appeal, as he enjoys the fast-lane outside of work, too. “My most favorite gadget is my Ducati Panigale 899. Nothing gets me more excited,” says Wibbeke.
To stay informed on the latest design trends in the fast-action field of design, the founder declares: “[With regards to] digital products, in particular, we try to stay informed about the latest possibilities in terms of UX/UI and coding, but we always strive for solutions that are best for the brand, the user, and those that are based on longevity, “says Wibekke. And the creative steps are simple. For the company to get to know its client, he states that “for us, the key is to get to know the client and the stakeholders of a certain project. Understanding them and their needs lead to a fond understanding of the project and the goals within. That is why we rely on a strong collaboration phase together with the client.” Makes sense, and their creative steps to do so are simple: “Within this in-depth research, we utilize several tools such as workshops or questionnaires to get to the fundamental drivers of the brand/user. From this point on, we develop close iterations of the visual direction of the design and system; afterward [both] are implemented as a branding system or a design for a particular touchpoint,” Wibbeke says.
When asked whether this is always successful, the co-founder of Persuaid renders the secrets in responding to harsh criticism. “Luckily this doesn’t happen that often,” he says, “but we try to stay calm and identify the reason. Then we move on to the solution with the willingness to solve the issue in the best possible way.” And the outlook for the people behind Persuaid is one of patience, since tracking the success of design comes with time. “In my opinion,” states Wibbekke, “to measure the success of design takes [time] in the long run. There may not have been many that said a company with a bitten apple as their logo might become one of the most successful brands ever. That is why we think that design is based on a strong vision, a sustainable strategic approach, quality in execution and dedication to the customer.” Well said.
In such a demanding field, how does a team of designers stay creative under extreme pressure? According to Wibbeke: “I would say creativity isn’t [about] hitting a hammer at a certain moment. For me, it’s more evaluating solutions and presenting that one that solves the problem best to the client.” To stay creative, the brander looks to other artists such as Dieter Rams, Jan Tschichold, Kurt Weidemann, among others, as well as “the education of my former design teachers at FH Bielefeld,” he says. When it comes down to what he finds most admirable: “Brands that deliver accordingly to the promises they made. Brands that are based on a strong coherent visual system” says Wibbeke.
The most rewarding thing in design, according to Wibbeke, is to build an empire from scratch— so to speak. He says: “For me, the most rewarding thing in design is to build something from a blank piece of screen or paper that hasn’t been there before and ensure the possibility of changing things for the better.” Future possibilities for the team of Persuaid will involve “following our approach of design and help other people in finding the visual solution for their communicative needs.” When Wibbeke isn’t out changing the digital world for the better, he plans to spend “more time on the water or the road.” Check out the passion behind Persuaid at www.persuaid.de.