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Donna Heiderstadt | November 19, 2012
Owner of Todd Bracher Studio LLC, New York
Pratt Institute, Industrial Design, 1996
Interior Design: How has the design field changed for grads since you began your career?
Todd Bracher: Even just 16 years or so ago when I graduated, design was still a sort of undiscovered industry. Design was not seen in the U.S. as a driver for business, so the training of a designer was much more about problem solving and less about how we can impact business via marketing and innovation. At the same time, I do feel the burden is heavier on a young designer today. They need to know more as the expectations are more than when I was a recent grad. One thing is for sure: Great design, intellect and logic are still the highest priorities.
ID: How do you think "design" is viewed in popular culture today; is it more significant in daily life than it was 10 or 20 years ago? If so, how?
TB: Design has grown considerably more important in today's popular culture. For certain the success of Apple's iPhone has opened the door for consumers to what high-level design can be and given them the desire for such quality in other aspects of life.
ID: What materials, techniques or fabrications are you most excited about?
TB: I am not a designer led by material. I work backwards, meaning I work with a context and an application and therefore I lean to the best material to achieve my desired goal. I never start with material...I start with "why?"
ID: What personal career accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
TB: That's a tough one. In some ways I would say the opening of the show "The Essence of Things" in Sao Paulo this summer, which is a solo show about the last 10 years of my work. I have mixed feelings, mainly because it is a great honor to have such a platform to share the work that I do, but also I look at the work as a journey and see that I still want to grow more and take things to the next level...so it is a never-ending game of trying to outdo yourself.
ID: What is the one thing you know now that you wish you'd known when you were starting your career?
TB: Understand that design is a business. You are there to help lead businesses and to guide them down new avenues to success. It is not easy, but if you are smart enough and work hard enough you can achieve amazing things. You are also only as good as your collaborator, so pick strong ones that believe in you as you do them.