What is a designer?
My first book, Analog Dreams, is a compilation of my eye popping design sketches. It is comprised of over 120 pages of dynamic, behind the scenes sketches from the first decade of my professional work as an industrial designer. Also included are some of my thoughts on rapid visualization skills, and what it takes to be fluent in visual language. Analog Dreams has quickly become a primer in many design schools. It is a must have for any design or architecture student, and anyone looking for a little visual inspiration.
People don't have Picassos, they have stuff
Most people will never own a Picasso. They probably won't look at a Van Gogh daily. They might not purchase a Brancusi sculpture for the living room, or live in a Frank Lloyd Wright home. On the other hand, they most likely will wake up to look at their alarm clock each morning, drive their car to and from work, and look at their watch countless times. It is easy to underestimate the impact of interacting with these objects. They are part of our daily routines. It is all too easy to discount them as mere products.
A person strapping on their watch, glancing at it throughout the day, every day, possibly for a period of years, has the opportunity to come to know it on an intimate level. It could be the last thing this person sees before drifting to sleep at night and the first thing they see in the morning. This person will know every line, every detail, every nuance of color and shape, even if only on a subconscious level.
From the standpoint of a designer, this is an opportunity to provide people with something above and beyond an object that performs a simple function. It is a chance to give them a work of art. A work of art that they personally interact with every day. A work that people take notice of and admire, or one that blends into the surroundings and makes its statement with a whisper. A work that is a sculptural marvel and technical feat, or one that performs a function with such clean simplicity it takes on an elegance of its own.
For over 20 years this is the kind of industry leading design I've been practicing for companies as large as Nike, Intel, Honda, Google and small innovative start ups as well.
What can we make for you?
“Since the first time I met Michael I was sincerely impressed with how "interested" he is. Whether CEO of a Fortune 500 company or first year student, Michael treats people with respect and has his ears open with the intention of learning something new... I have never met someone who has such a grasp on the intangibles as Michael.”
David Whetstone, Astro Design
“Michael has an amazing ability to listen to our needs and somehow translate spoken words into drawn images with remarkable intuition and speed. He is so "on the mark" with gathering up our design needs, composing them and finally rendering them that when I see his renderings, I wonder if somehow he has tapped directly into my cerebral cortex! Professional, highly skilled, on-time, very creative, and willing to push us to look at things differently have led us to Michael time and time again with our product design and graphic needs.”
Phillip Burke, CEO Rev1 Engineering
“A great designer is someone who both pays attention to and is interested in everything around them. They can then take that ever increasing knowledge and create something amazing and fresh with it. Michael is one of the best I've seen or met and is a great guy to work with in addition.”
Steve McDonald, Faceplant Design, formerly of frog design and Nike
“Michael is an extremely passionate creative - he holds a breadth of skill few can compare & an amazing personality which naturally fosters innovation & great creative thinking. Companies need more people like Michael & I have no doubt he will continue to do great things.”
Umar Hanif, strategist at Motorola
“Michael is an inspiration to work with. He has a gift for finding the most beautiful, functional, and successful solution to any problem, regardless of industry or business case. Even more unusually, his talent scales - as a leader, he inspires greatness in others.”
Alicia Bergin, Managing Director of Method Design
“Michael is an inspired design leader with a storied pedigree stemming from the likes of Nike and frog design. I consider Michael among the top talents in the Industrial Design profession and respect his judgement with anything design related. He is both friend and colleague - someone I trust implicitly.”
Howard Nuk, former VP of Industrial Design, Samsung
“Michael is inspiring to work with, and a great leader. His ability to not only produce great design, but also recognize great design and create narrative around great design is second to none.”
JD Battles, Principle UI Designer at Crunch Base
“Michael’s boundless energy and positive attitude makes him a real pleasure to work with. His design sensibility and the ability to quickly and efficiently run programs is a tremendous asset to any organization. He has a very high standard for both himself and the people that he works with which raises the quality of the work of the teams he manages”
Cormac Eubanks, VP of Product Development at Sky Catch
“He is an extraordinary talent with boundless passion for innovative design. He is the finest designer I have worked with, heard of or read about.”
Aaron Szymanski, Founder of Evo Design
© michael ditullo . 2011
1) The needs of the user
must solve a real problem and connect with the heart as much as the mind
2) The concerns of industry
must be able to be manufactured and distributed to fund the next innovation
3) The influences of culture
must be relevant to the world of today and inspire the world of tomorrow
ability to synthesize & analyze with non-linear solution finding
verbal communication skills
ability to listen, influence, and build compelling arguments through verbal mediums
knowledge of craft
ability to implement concepts & experience with production methods
© michael ditullo . 2011
visual communication skills
ability to build compelling stories through visual mediums, 2D & 3D, analog and digital
What is a successful design?
Michael and his former team speaking about the design of the Definitive Technology BP9000 series
I believe successful design originates from the intersection of three things:
I have designed for some of the most famous companies in the world. My work has won numerous awards and has been featured in many publications. In 2017 I established my own studio with a simple mission, make the best work possible for people who get it.
The people I have worked with know that I won't rest until we make something we are proud of. Take it from them:
The combination of these skills has helped me collaborate on some of the most innovative industry leading products for Fortune 500's, startups, and everything in between.
Michael speaking at the 2014 Object Culture Conference in Brooklyn, NY.
What can we make for you?
2017 Square 1 Conference, Keynote Speaker
2017 Chicago IDSA UCID Design Workshop
2017 Domus Academy Design Gym, Guest Lecturer
2017 Struktur Conference, Keynote Speaker
2016 Cleveland Institute of Art, Spring Show Keynote Speaker and Guest Critic
2016 Metropolitan State University Denver, Guest Lecturer
2015 Thought At Work Conference, Keynote Speaker
2015 Domus Academy, San Diego Extension, Guest Speaker and Critic
2014 Object Culture Conference, Keynote Speaker
2012 Core 77 Design Awards, Juror
2012 Cut & Paste Awards, Juror
2011 The Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico, Design Addict Conference, Keynote
2011 University of Cincinnati, Guest Speaker
2010 University of Illinois, Guest Speaker
2010 RISD, Guest Speaker
2010 Ohio IDSA, Guest Speaker
2010 Cleveland Institute of Art, Guest Critic
2009 Wentworth Institute of Technology, Guest Speaker
2009 A Better Future By Design Conference, Speaker
2009 IDSA Boston Back To School Sessions, Speaker
2009 IDSA NED Conference, Future of Design Education, Panel Member
2009 IDSA Northeast Region Merit Award, Juror
2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Visiting Speaker
2008 IDSA Influence Conference, Speaker
2007 Adobe, Live Photoshop Seminar at Adobe HQ
2007 ACIDO Rocket Design Awards, Juror
2004-2005 Portland Institute of Art, Adjunct Instructor
2003 Columbus College of Art and Design, Visiting Speaker