Just a kid with typographic exercises like drawing metal band logos and cars, Dino Franke realized he was only tapping the surface— that soon, he would pursue an education in graphic studies and get to the bottom of what the realm of design was all about. It didn’t take long for interest to perpetuate into a passion where new media and technology are concerned, eventually landing him a firm position in the creative world working for interactive and design agencies. Today, the German-born designer, alongside a worldly team of talent, run GROHE AG— a leading brand in innovative global design.
With a focus on user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, Franke formulated a namesake by adhering to a personal set of standards equipped to fuel his success. For example, one must stay grounded among the pressures of such a fast-paced field, and to do this the designer turns to certain hobbies. “Cycling, photography [and] music,” are just of few personal outlets to get the creator’s passion flowing besides work. And such outlets allow the graphics guru to stay creative under such pressures as well, for when asked about this method, the designer replies: “A clear focus on the work is very important. I try to switch off all sources of distraction (e-mail, Slack, social media), and if I'm stuck in a project, I'll take a time-out and step back from my desk. That could be anything— a 2-hour bike ride, a walk along the Rhine, playing with my daughter, making music… doesn’t really matter. Ideas very rarely come in front of the computer,” says Franke, and we agree. Though one piece of advice? — offers the artist: “Don’t fear to start all-over if you’re unhappy with your work.”
Franke is a connoisseur in the realm of communication, after all, the skillset paves the foundation for his main approach to design. “It’s all about conversation. Learn and understand the problem,” he says. And having inspiration doesn’t hurt either, as Frankie drops several sources that have lent a helping hand where positive influence is concerned. “To name just a few, I like the undogmatic thinking of David Carson, the minimalistic approach of Dieter Rams, the attitude of people like James Victore or Erik Spiekermann…. and the anarchy of my 8-year old daughter,” he says. But the biggest influence on Frankie’s way of thinking? “First of all, my wife. And many people that I met in my life like friends, teachers, colleagues,” says the designer.
It’s crucial to stay informed on the latest design trends to keep clients happy. How does a leading designer at GROHE AG do this? “I read a lot. Really a lot. Design blogs, magazines, books… It’s essential to stay in the loop. I also follow a lot of designers on Instagram, etc., and I attend conferences for design and technology such as FITC, OFFF, Beyond Tellerrand— to name just a few,” says Franke. Yet what happens in the instance a client isn’t loving the artist’s vision? When it comes to swaying a customer into trusting the process, for Franke, it’s simple: “You should always think about possible downsides of your creative solution before presenting to a client. Argument sell better than opinions, so be prepared!” he says. And it doesn’t hurt that the graphics guru has over twenty years’ experience under his creative toolbelt— another selling point that provides clients with the confidence to trust his better judgment. After all, the challenge is what the industry is all about; for Franke, that’s precisely what he enjoys most about his work. “Every project is different,” he says. “That’s what I like the most. To get the job done the UX/UI designer uses “the standard design tools like everybody else. The ones I cannot live without are Sketch, Photoshop, my notebook, and Spotify,’ he tells us.
When asked about the best piece of advice ever heard, Franke relayed J. Victore’s wise words: "There ain’t no rules.” Which is especially true in any realm where art and technology intertwine. Perhaps it was this same advice which helped cultivate the inspiration behind Franke’s recent win of “Mobile Design of the Year,” at the 2019 Indigo Awards competition in Spain. In regards to the accolade, the designer says: “It was really a great pleasure and honor to receive the award. I also met a lot of really nice colleagues from all over the world. The award was a great appreciation of our work and at the same time an important recognition within the company. Interactive design and UX are rather new disciplines inside of GROHE, and it proves that the shift from product design to service design is a step in the right direction.” What can we hope to see more of from the designer in the future? “Basically, I'm really happy with my current situation. For the future, I'd like to work more on projects that deal with sustainability as I did for Grohe smart home products. I also want to share my experience with students.” Also— “Getting my website done!” he adds.