Interview with Co-founder Alexander Vellguth
Welcome to a new article of our series Friends of William #friendsofwilliam
Every day we receive dear messages that range from appreciative to euphoric about the design of William Walker products. The interest in William Walker design and all that is connected with it, is in any case continuously high, which fills us with great joy and a little bit of pride.
At the same time, this positive response is of course not simply a coincidence and it is therefore only partly surprising when we tell you that we at William Walker are actually working around the clock on the subject of design.
So to learn a little more about William Walker's understanding of design, we thought it would be a good idea to talk to ourselves, or rather to Alexander Vellguth. Alexander is co-founder of William Walker and is responsible for the design. His influence extends from the choice of the optimal font on the packaging of our Dogshampoo Pure, up to the development of our three way adjustable suede leashes.
Alexander, you not only love German boxers, you have an absolute love for design, how come?
What exactly? So the boxers or the design?
When you ask like that, it's both :-)
The love for four-legged friends and especially for boxers probably developed from the fact that I had the luck to be accompanied by these great beings during my whole childhood. When I was three years old, I had my first four-legged friend. Her name was Kirby, an adorable boxer bitch. Marked by countless unforgettable, great moments with Kirby, Luna, Balios, Bandos and Milo, my love for boxers was inevitable.
I can't simply attribute my passion for design it to a particular time or experience. In fact, it has simply always been there. I have a creative mother, maybe that's where it comes from, I don't know for sure, but what I can definitely say is that my passion for design runs through my whole life and is not limited to a specific area. I can draw as much enthusiasm from the perfect resistance when I'm typing the keys on my MacBook keyboard as I do from the sound experience when I listen to music in peace with my Bose headphones.
In love with design with all senses, that looks just like you. You are not a trained designer and yet you are obviously anything but an amateur, how can that be?
That's correct, I have no classical design training or anything like that. What I have instead is called curiosity. I am a person who enjoys learning new things. I feel so lucky to be able to live in this time with all the challenges that are currently happening in the world. Everybody with an internet access has almost unlimited possibilities to educate themselves or to learn completely new things. There is hardly a topic for which there are no YouTube tutorials or online teaching content yet. I mean honestly, how crazy is that? If you feel like it, you can learn something new every day, just because you want to. Just recently, for example, we at William Walker bought a 3D printer to speed up product development. But to use it effectively, you have to master 3D software. I then spent a weekend looking at various tutorials on YouTube and within two days I was able to operate the printer accordingly. We live in a time in which people with passion are allowed to be everything they want to be and that's why I can do the design, I think it's ok.
Yeah okay, sounds modest, but let's leave it that way. Do you have a classic muse, or where do you get your inspiration when designing?
Here as well, I think my greatest strength is my own curiosity. Someone clever may have said that in order for good ideas to arise from your own head, you first have to get many (good) ideas into your head. Following this simple, but I find good wisdom, I try to go through life with open eyes. The technique of changing perspectives, i.e. actively changing the existing view, of a certain product or problem and its potential solution, is a simple technical but very effective approach to developing good design.
That sounds somehow amazingly simple and yet extremely exciting. What does good design mean to you anyway?
Many people often and primarily associate design with the look or appearance of a product. Of course, good design is much, much more than just a good "look". Besides the pure optical component, it is above all about functionality, the degree of innovation, durability and for me personally also very much about reduction to the essentials. The balanced interaction of all these components is what ultimately determines the aesthetics of a product for me. One of my favourite designers is Dieter Rams. In the 1970s he designed the Ten theses for good design formulated. This definition has lost nothing of its precision, I consider it appropriate and highly topical.
Some things are starting to make sense. What do you think makes the design of William Walker, what should people think of when they hear William Walker?
I knew the question would come up. William Walker stands for a look that at its core is pure aesthetics. We try to find the balance between strikingly beautiful and at the same time subtly restrained. Our products should feel sublime for their respective owners. To convey the feeling of an appealing appearance without being obtrusive - attracting attention without being obtrusive. Besides the obvious beauty of the products, the true beauty lies in the details, which only become visible when looking closely. Well thought-out functionality, selected high-quality materials and genuine custom-made craftsmanship are what make William Walker products stand out. So if you own a William Walker product, you can be sure that you are not just holding something in your hands that is nice to look at.
You have already developed elegant dog fashion for William Walker on several occasions, what is currently going on, can you tell us what you are currently working on for William Walker?
William Walker should become the North Star for aesthetic dog fashion products worldwide. Another small step in this direction, is our last week relaunched, limitierte Leathercollection Midnight Sun. In addition, we are currently working hard on completely new collections, which we will also launch this year. In the coming weeks and months, we will also significantly expand our range of content and launch two completely new product categories. Which ones these are, we will not reveal yet :-)
We would be lying if we did not say now that we can hardly wait for all this to happen! One last question, dog in the office, yes or no?
A clear "yes"! But only on condition that the office environment is suitable for a dog. Currently our office is located in the city centre of Hamburg, with unfortunately very little surrounding green space. Keeping a dog here would therefore unfortunately be anything but optimal, but we are working hard to have a suitable office in the near future :-)
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