Zach Raven

Good in Jewelry Design.

About Zach Raven

Zach Raven is an Industrial Designer with more than 12 years of experience, living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Winner of multiple awards, including numerous Best of Neocon awards, A' Design Award, Good Design and Red Dot awards, he is the Owner/CCO of RVNDSGN, a multi-disciplinary design firm focusing on wearable design.

  • Winner of Jewelry Design Award.
  • Specialized in Jewelry Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Jewelry
Model 1 Timepiece

Model 1 Timepiece

Jewelry Design


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Interview with Zach Raven

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I grew up curious and drawing all the time. It wasn't until I discovered Industrial Design during my third year of college, that I immediately made an appointment at Kendall College of Art and Design to learn more. I knew right away this was what I wanted to do.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
RVNDSGN designed the first 3D printed watch in 2011. Today we are partnered with Swiss engineering and manufacturing companies to bring our next line of timepieces to the market. As a firm, we focus on solving problems and designing minimal, beautiful products.
What is "design" for you?
Design is all about identifying the problem or opportunity and solving those problems to improve peoples interactions with the product.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Some of my favorite designs are the ones that dont change a lot from conceptualization to final product. That tends to mean that everything lined up, timing, engineering, manufacturing, price. Some of the seating products I've worked on like the Trillia Stool for Gunlocke and Vicinity Lounge for Allsteel worked out that way.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I worked on desking systems as an intern for a large furniture company in Michigan.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
CAD can both be a great tool, or a great crutch. If CAD is used as A tool in the process, instead of the ONLY tool, you can do great things with it.
When do you feel the most creative?
I need to be inspired. That can come from anywhere. Some cool picture of nature, or a sweet car rolling by. The mess of toys after our kids have been playing. Inspiration is everywhere.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
The early, blue-sky conceptualization is my favorite part of the design process. Being able to interpret the brief in the least constricting time is my favorite and most creative.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
When a design really comes together on every aspect, price, manufacturing, engineering, marketing, and design; that really leads to a lot of excitement.
What makes a design successful?
I think the most successful designs fit the need at a reachable price. Design doesn't need to be expensive or use exotic materials to work. The most successful products are the ones that the most people can use, and the right price can make a product much more accessible.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Usually if the design effectively solves a problem, closely followed by its aesthetics.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Most of the things we create and consume are not necessary. With that in mind, environmentally conscious decisions should always be at the front of a designers mind. From selecting materials, to manufacturing processes, to shipping. The least environmentally impactful methods should always be considered.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I'm excited to see more and more females enter the field. I think the more diverse design becomes, the better it becomes.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
Minimalist. I think the challenge of crating something simple, either in function or aesthetics can be very challenging, and when it works out, it's fantastic.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
Michigan. We are located in the heart of the contract furniture industry, so there is a lot of history in our backyard.
How do you work with companies?
From beginning to end. From before there is even a brief, to after launch.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
There is a growing movement for design thinking across company's executives. There is a reason for that. Any company ignoring design is ignoring potential growth in their future.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
Robot vacuum, Vitra Slow Chair, our home (designed by myself and my wife), our patio fire pit, bar height table for entertaining.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I don't think designers can sit down and shoot out 50 amazing designs just because they were asked to. Sure, you can do it, but most of them will be bad. Design takes time and thought. Thinking through solutions and collaboration always lead to a better product.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It depends on the project, usually 6 months to 2 years in my experience.

Extended Interview with Zach Raven

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I earned a BFA in Industrial Design from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids Michigan. I've worked for over a decade mostly in the contract furniture industry.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
Solving problems and improving peoples' lives. It's motivating to see designs that exist only to improve lives, as opposed to making money.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
Mostly furniture with some wearables and transportation concepts.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Work constantly. That doesn't mean pen to paper every second of the day, but always be aware. Question things you see or products you use. See the inspiration all around you. Live a design life, integrate the aspects of design into your life.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
Solving problems in a beautiful way while pushing the limits of what was done before.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
I think a beautiful object is what gets itself recognized, but after the initial reaction, the products has to be well made and function perfectly. Everything goes hand in hand, you can't have something beautiful that falls apart the first time you use it.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I'm enamored with some of the big names out there. I'd love to design a chair for Vitra or Established & Sons in the future.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
As my son grows, I'd like to build and electric motorcycle with him. Something crazy.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
Work harder than the next guy. Be accessible and approachable. No ego.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
Marc Newson, Patricia Urquiola, Errolson Hugh, Johnny Ive, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I love the Bouroullec's Slow Chair from Vitra. It's beautiful and amazingly comfortable.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
I'm really proud of the watch we are currently developing. I'm excited to see that through, and see how it preforms commercially.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I've asked myself that question many times, I honestly don't know.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
My parents have always supported me, I couldn't have gotten here without them. My wife, who is also a designer, has also helped me greatly, whether its to bounce ideas off, or supporting me while I worked crazy hours, she has always been there.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I had a lot of support and great professors during school. After school, the people I worked for were great mentors.
How does design help create a better society?
Design can solve issues that nothing else can. Whether that is providing homes to those who need it, or eliminating waste going into the environment.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
An even greater push for a cradle to cradle approach. Design to disassembly and recyclability or reusability.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
Hopefully more inclusion as more women and minorities enter the field. More diversification will make for a better field of design.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
Depends on the project, but I'm used to 6 months to 2 years.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
Research. Whether that is first or second hand research with users, or inspirational image searches. We always start with research to start crafting a story.
What is the role of technology when you design?
I'm a techno-nerd. So design is integral while I'm designing, but can also be a great inspiration.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
Colors can either inspire passion for a product, or prematurely date a product. For that reason, color needs to selected with the utmost of care.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
Honestly, my wife. She is great at challenging me for the best solutions. And we dont always see eye to eye. No body just wants a yes man around, I want to hear if my initial thought is wrong. Fail faster to succeed sooner.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Awards and recognition are nice, but in the end, a great product is worth more.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
When a design REALLY comes together. When you know you've hit the exact right solution. That is always very satisfying.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
I was always curious and drawing all the time. I don't know if it was obvious to anyone what my career path would be. It took me 3 years in college to switch to design.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
Hopefully as a species have stopped fighting and have finally decided to clean up the earth, otherwise I don't think we will be here.

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