Designer in Profile: Richard Seale (Seymourpowell)

Seymourpowell have recently been shortlisted in the International Yacht and Aviation Awards with their project “Morph” entering the Commercial Aviation Cabin Interior category.

richsealepreferredName: Richard Seale

Company: Seymourpowell

Position within company: Transport Designer


What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?

Our lives have changed dramatically in the last decade. The way we work, socialize, play and relax is changing. The technology we now carry in our pockets would have been almost unimaginable decades ago. This change will only speed up.

One thing is for sure, there is a demand for ‘life on my terms’. Brands no longer dictate to us how we should live our lives. The brand is no longer centre of the experience, we are.

What projects are you currently working on?

Seymourpowell works on a range of projects across all sectors of design. We work on anything from FMCG packaging to product, transport and future concepts sometimes three or four generations from now.

We celebrate our breadth of experience and our ability to recognise social and lifestyle trends that span across the consumer landscape.

A designer’s work is so diverse – how do you manage to hold down a career and a life?

When you work as a designer you are always designing. Sitting on the train or cycling to work you see things that inform your work. So you could say you are always working, or you could say that as designers have such a passion for what we do that we never feel we are really ‘at work’.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2014 and beyond.

1. Consumers expectations for information, service and instant access are increasing exponentially. In the future the service experience needs to be memorable, flexible and responsive. Where the appropriate service level is determined on a case-by-case basis.

A carefully edited selection of ‘only the best’ says new service much more than abundance of choice and endless options.

Brands and services will need to provide an integrated service experience and allow people to move seamlessly from one activity to the next.

2. People are becoming more and more health conscious. Health and fitness is a sign of status across all age groups. Consumers are increasingly demanding products and services that support their emotional and physical needs.

3. Work and leisure balance is changing. Technology is allowing us all to be connected when we choose. We can work, socialise or play almost anywhere and at any time. The ability to customise one’s immediate surroundings is becoming very important. Consumers want to do what they want when they want on their own terms.

4. To avoid competing on price, a clear purpose is needed: if a brand does not have ‘a point of view’ then it’s not interesting. Increasingly brands are engaging customers, by compelling function, surprise and play. Keeping an eye on emerging technology and finding new ways of delighting consumers is key to this success.

5. At all levels consumers are more discerning about how they spend. Value is key: excellent functionality, pared back styling and superb build quality have become differentiators in today’s market. Streamlined construction and details that emphasise simplicity, becomes a new kind of luxury. In other words – Keep it simple and build it well!

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

Start by dreaming big, explore the ideal, find the right idea then apply the real world stuff.

How important are The International Yacht and Aviation Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?


How do you relax?

At work I spend lots of time thinking about the future; predicting how the world will look in years to come. To relax I like to look to the past. Restoring classic cars and motorbikes in my spare time gives me space and time to get away from new design thinking and take a trip down memory lane.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

One of the best things about working for a company like Seymourpowell is that I get the chance to work across all categories of design. I look forward to working on projects that challenge me and make me learn and think in a different way. I do not know exactly what I will be working on over the next 12 months and that is exactly why I work here.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself

The car you drive? – 1952 Jowett Jupiter

Your favourite place to travel to in the world? – Barcelona is one of my favourite cities in the world. For me it has the right balance of ‘city cool’ and relaxed Mediterranean attitude.

Your favourite hotel/ restaurant/ bar? – The Crazy Bear Group for their sumptuous yet kitsch interiors.

The place that gives you the most energy? – The Mountains.

And the place that enables you to totally relax? – The pub on a Sunday.

Your favourite food and drink? – See above!