Seven Tips on Designing by Kenneth Cobonpue

“Passion is important because when a person loves his work, his passion ignites marvelous things.” This is how multi-awarded industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue believes you should feel towards his work. If you’re stuck in a career rut and not feeling the love, take your cue from a man who’s been true to his passion from the moment he started designing, and throughout the materialization of his global brand. His values and philosophies when it comes to his designs and his business might just work for you.

THE MORE YOU DO IT, THE BETTER YOU GET

Kenneth works on his designs every single day. “I don’t wait for a flash of inspiration or a bolt of genius. Design is a discipline, and just like any other discipline, you have to do it constantly,” he said.

PROPER GUIDANCE PAYS OFF

Once he determined that design was what he really wanted to do, Kenneth enrolled in schools where he could nourish his skills under the guidance of esteemed educators. Knowing the value of this, he’s now mulling building his own design school. “To have that opportunity to mentor young designers is in my bucket list,” he said.

NO RISKS, NO VICTORIES

His out-of-the-box designs are a testament to his daring nature. Kenneth believes that in life, having the courage to take risks is important. “Without risks, there are no victories. It’s the same thing with design.”

DIVERSIFY AND EXPAND

From furniture, he’s now venturing into other things like transportation and consumer products. “As a designer, I believe I have the responsibility to better society in any way I can. I do that by expanding my aesthetic philosophy to other things.”

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Despite his busy schedule, Kenneth makes it a point to check on his employees and artisans to discuss work and more. He even holds training sessions and personal consultations to guide them with their finances. “When the members of my team are happy, they also create good work. So it’s important that I look in the other aspects of their lives. We try to educate them on financial literacy in our own way.”

ASPIRE TO INSPIRE

When he was starting out as an industrial designer, Kenneth mainly worked for himself and was happy whenever people appreciated his furniture. Now that he’s a global brand, it’s a little different. “It’s different because I’m like an ambassador of my country on the global design stage, and it’s been such an honor. I think the inspiration that I bring is now more important than my actual work itself.”

PARTNER WITH SOMEONE WHO SHARES YOUR VALUES 

Relationships run smoothly and work flows seamlessly when you’re working with someone who shares your vision. This is how Kenneth feels about his new partnership with Sun Life Financial. “I chose Sun Life because the company values the same things I do: quality, integrity, and legacy. My pieces carry all these values because I don’t design just for the present–I look at them as treasures that can be passed on from one generation to the next–just like Sun Life’s products.”   


Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, July 2014

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