Roberto Stein

Professional in Baby Products Design.

About Roberto Stein

Roberto Stein was born in Mexico-City and was early fascinated with topics like photography, design and architecture. He was a student from legendary Braun chief designer Dieter Rams. His goal while designing is to create an added value to make each product special and better than the existing ones. This reflects on the work of his company INVENTO DESIGN founded in 2001 in Hamburg, Germany. His designed products were awarded by iF, Audi and WDIF. Thus his specialization in electronic products, he likes to experiment and take on interesting challenges in all kind of different fields.

  • Winner of Baby Products Design Award.
  • Specialized in Baby Products Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Baby Products
Whale Spoon

Whale Spoon

Baby Products Design


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Interview with Roberto Stein

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?
As I was a kid I loved photography. I remember I had one of those cameras with a cube flash that you can rotate 4 times. It was state of the art back then ;-) Later on I started to make paintings either b/w with charcoal crayon or really colorful ones. Before ending college I moved more into 3D sculpting with different materials but in a more technical fashion, so it was an obvious choice to study industrial design. Having German roots I moved with 19 years from Mexico-City to Hamburg to study industrial design with Braun legend Dieter Rams.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
After working for 4 years in a great design agency I decided to follow my independent soul and founded INVENTO DESIGN in 2001. I chose the name “Invento” (Spanish for “invention”), because I am fascinated about creating new solutions nobody has thought of before. Our focus is on electronic products, but we can and really love to take on projects on all kind of fields. We are highly professional without losing curiosity, an open mind and sense of humor.
What is "design" for you?
Certainly is the visual attractivity an essential design issue. But there is a lot more to it. The product has to be user friendly and self-explaining. Good design always searches for the best functional solutions. And the manufacturing for an acceptable price, as much ecofriendly as possible, has to be taken into account. Then there are the marketing issues like differentiation and company brand compliance. You take into account all those issues and make a beautiful product: that is good industrial design.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I like projects with a good briefing and defined goal, but which give you enough freedom to experiment with function and materials. Challenges to create something completely new are also great to take. Regarding specific products, I like to work on smaller products which I can test myself with prototypes and have the chance to refine as much as possible in any way.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Well, it certainly is my Whale-Spoon, because there are a lot of personal issues involved. The first time I came up with the original idea was for my 18 months young daughter. This year she will be 16 years!
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
Well it was actually an invention of mine still being in the university. It was a helping device for disabled people, which was completely new and very useful, so a manufacturer was found very fast. It also won the iF Design award.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I love using silicone, because it has properties no other material has. It is a very friendly and long lasting material.
When do you feel the most creative?
Actually when traveling and getting a lot of new impressions and visual input. Also when I work on different projects simultaneously the creativity sparks from one project to the other, so solutions arise for one project while working on another.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Depending on which stage. The first one should have not too tight restrictions and allow creativity to flow in all fields (aesthetics, technical issues, etc.). After choosing a design concept finding the right proportions while taking into account issues like usability and manufacturing is a big challenge. The last design refinement solves more detailed issues like exact surface flow, products graphics and individual details.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I am very focused and every time I find the right shape or a special solution it is very pleasing.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
When the product is finally complete it is very rewarding taking it on your hands and know it is your creation.
What makes a design successful?
First of all the product has to solve the issue of the user on the best way possible, being easy and pleasant to use, pleasant to look at and have as much added value for the user as possible.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
If the shape and the user interaction is complicated and hard to understand it is a failed product design. When at the first glance the product tells you exactly what to do and looks simple but exiting, then it is just right.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
When designing a product he always has decisions to make and should always have the people using the product later as main the focus. Choosing the materials and manufacturing techniques also have an impact on the environment.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
The digitalization of products and services is on its way, but that doesn’t mean, that real people doesn’t need real products. As the life is becoming more complex, people look for easy to use products and shapes that comfort them. The product development and production cycle for products is also getting faster making it more difficult for good long lasting products to compete with cheaper trendy products. An awareness of the consumer and the people in charge of the governments is required to promote better long lasting and ecological products.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
Observing the world with an open mind. Hearing what other cultures have to say, looking how animals solve their own issues in sometimes incredible ways. But sometimes just thinking and working hard and persistent works out.
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?
I always want to create products with added value that are better than existing ones. Easy to use, simple and strong shapes, exiting and pleasant to look at.
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?
I live in Hamburg, Germany. It is a beautiful city, not too big but with enough contrasts and exiting places to inspire. It has a very innovative a creative scene. But also Mexico, the country where I grew up, still has a lot of influence in my life.
How do you work with companies?
I have a very methodical and professional approach when working for companies. I listen very well what the employees have to say to understand their goals and needs. I like to tightly cooperate with the engineers, marketing people and CEOs of the company.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
The companies must be aware what they really want. If for example they want to use the name of a famous designer as a marketing tool, then they will have to adapt to what they get from the designer. If they want the product design to fit the company and meet the product development deadlines, then they should hire a professional which understands the needs of the company and their customers and is open minded to find the best solution for the company. Looking at their portfolio is also important to see if they essentially like the aesthetic sense of the designer. Less important (but certainly helpful) is that the designer has lots of experience on the product field. Sometimes better ideas arise from designer which can look at the products from a whole new and fresh perspective.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
We have classify our design process in 4 main steps, which do influence each other in both directions. First there is the “project information” phase, in which we are sure to understand the company, their customers, the market, the competitors and the people working in the project.Then comes the “creative phase” which extends from the first sketches to first prototypes and their evaluation.Then there is the “implementation phase” where the detailed CAD-Data is finalized, and all details clarified with the engineers, ending in the “design freeze”.Then comes the “market introduction” in which we support the company in various ways.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
I love my sofa, the puristic chimney and also some self-made things like a free-hanging kitchen-table and a special lamp that lightens a beautiful panorama picture of the Mont-Blanc.
Can you describe a day in your life?
Well each day is different and I have a lot of freedom, but I am always involved somehow with my work my family the dog, sports and so on.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Apart of a good design education try to make a lot of internships to have insights in different fields. Try all kind of things while being young, maybe making your own products and giving it a try at e.g. Kickstarter. Don’t think you are too special, but be humble and open minded and talk about your ideas with several people, having fun and not taking it too seriously ;-)
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
I personally love the diversity of the job. Every project is different, you always have to work together with people from several fields (engineers, marketing, CEOs, model maker, consumer…) so it never ever gets boring. You also can grasp your creation which is very satisfactory. Negatives? Not for me ;-)
What skills are most important for a designer?
The must have is a good aesthetic sense. Creativity and an open mind. Understanding people. At product design technical know-how. And nowadays skills with design software.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
Paper, pen, the fastest laptop possible, a big screen, 3D and 2D design software, material references, big pin walls, a workshop for fast model making, music.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
Defining tasks and the time needed as clear as possible is essential for one self and for the customer to know, but I am lucky to have a very good sense of time.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
Companies are concerned that the project runs without surprises on time, so deadline questions are very frequently asked. But I think the most “not asked question” is: What if we don’t like your design? So I always get to that point by myself and sense relief form the customer :-)
Who are some of your clients?
I worked together with known companies like Tchibo, Remington, Siemens, Telekom, vtech and also smaller specialized companies like Funktel, Getemed, Ammonit, Neuhaus Neotec, Esbit, etc. and also with start-ups.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I love the first creative phase being excited about coming up with new ideas. I also love the design detailing on 3D-CAD and visualizing “my” created product with near photographic detail from all angles.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I love working for companies, but I want to create and bring to market more of my own products, like the “Whale Spoon”.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
I am exploring the field of products for kids and have a lot of ideas already. But the real challenge is to create a product that is actually sold with profit.

Extended Interview with Roberto Stein

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
As I was a kid I loved photography. I remember I had one of those cameras with a cube flash that you can rotate 4 times. It was state of the art back then ;-) Later on I started to make paintings either b/w with charcoal crayon or really colorful ones. Before ending college I moved more into 3D sculpting with different materials but in a more technical fashion, so it was an obvious choice to study industrial design. Having German roots I moved with 19 years from Mexico-City to Hamburg to study industrial design with Braun legend Dieter Rams.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
After working for 4 years in a great design agency I decided to follow my independent soul and founded INVENTO DESIGN in 2001. I chose the name “Invento” (Spanish for “invention”), because I am fascinated about creating new solutions nobody has thought of before. Our focus is on electronic products, but we can and really love to take on projects on all kind of fields. We are highly professional without losing curiosity, an open mind and sense of humor.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
Certainly is the visual attractivity an essential design issue. But there is a lot more to it. The product has to be user friendly and self-explaining. Good design always searches for the best functional solutions. And the manufacturing for an acceptable price, as much ecofriendly as possible, has to be taken into account. Then there are the marketing issues like differentiation and company brand compliance. You take into account all those issues and make a beautiful product: that is good industrial design.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I like projects with a good briefing and defined goal, but which give you enough freedom to experiment with function and materials. Challenges to create something completely new are also great to take. Regarding specific products, I like to work on smaller products which I can test myself with prototypes and have the chance to refine as much as possible in any way.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Well, it certainly is my Whale-Spoon, because there are a lot of personal issues involved. The first time I came up with the original idea was for my 18 months young daughter. This year she will be 16 years!
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
Well it was actually an invention of mine still being in the university. It was a helping device for disabled people, which was completely new and very useful, so a manufacturer was found very fast. It also won the iF Design award.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
I love using silicone, because it has properties no other material has. It is a very friendly and long lasting material.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Actually when traveling and getting a lot of new impressions and visual input. Also when I work on different projects simultaneously the creativity sparks from one project to the other, so solutions arise for one project while working on another.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
Depending on which stage. The first one should have not too tight restrictions and allow creativity to flow in all fields (aesthetics, technical issues, etc.). After choosing a design concept finding the right proportions while taking into account issues like usability and manufacturing is a big challenge. The last design refinement solves more detailed issues like exact surface flow, products graphics and individual details.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I am very focused and every time I find the right shape or a special solution it is very pleasing.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
When the product is finally complete it is very rewarding taking it on your hands and know it is your creation.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
First of all the product has to solve the issue of the user on the best way possible, being easy and pleasant to use, pleasant to look at and have as much added value for the user as possible.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
If the shape and the user interaction is complicated and hard to understand it is a failed product design. When at the first glance the product tells you exactly what to do and looks simple but exiting, then it is just right.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
When designing a product he always has decisions to make and should always have the people using the product later as main the focus. Choosing the materials and manufacturing techniques also have an impact on the environment.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
The digitalization of products and services is on its way, but that doesn’t mean, that real people doesn’t need real products. As the life is becoming more complex, people look for easy to use products and shapes that comfort them. The product development and production cycle for products is also getting faster making it more difficult for good long lasting products to compete with cheaper trendy products. An awareness of the consumer and the people in charge of the governments is required to promote better long lasting and ecological products.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Observing the world with an open mind. Hearing what other cultures have to say, looking how animals solve their own issues in sometimes incredible ways. But sometimes just thinking and working hard and persistent works out.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
I always want to create products with added value that are better than existing ones. Easy to use, simple and strong shapes, exiting and pleasant to look at.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I live in Hamburg, Germany. It is a beautiful city, not too big but with enough contrasts and exiting places to inspire. It has a very innovative a creative scene. But also Mexico, the country where I grew up, still has a lot of influence in my life.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
I have a very methodical and professional approach when working for companies. I listen very well what the employees have to say to understand their goals and needs. I like to tightly cooperate with the engineers, marketing people and CEOs of the company.
How do you think designers should present their work?
The companies must be aware what they really want. If for example they want to use the name of a famous designer as a marketing tool, then they will have to adapt to what they get from the designer. If they want the product design to fit the company and meet the product development deadlines, then they should hire a professional which understands the needs of the company and their customers and is open minded to find the best solution for the company. Looking at their portfolio is also important to see if they essentially like the aesthetic sense of the designer. Less important (but certainly helpful) is that the designer has lots of experience on the product field. Sometimes better ideas arise from designer which can look at the products from a whole new and fresh perspective.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
We have classify our design process in 4 main steps, which do influence each other in both directions. First there is the “project information” phase, in which we are sure to understand the company, their customers, the market, the competitors and the people working in the project.Then comes the “creative phase” which extends from the first sketches to first prototypes and their evaluation.Then there is the “implementation phase” where the detailed CAD-Data is finalized, and all details clarified with the engineers, ending in the “design freeze”.Then comes the “market introduction” in which we support the company in various ways.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
I love my sofa, the puristic chimney and also some self-made things like a free-hanging kitchen-table and a special lamp that lightens a beautiful panorama picture of the Mont-Blanc.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
Well each day is different and I have a lot of freedom, but I am always involved somehow with my work my family the dog, sports and so on.
How does design help create a better society?
Apart of a good design education try to make a lot of internships to have insights in different fields. Try all kind of things while being young, maybe making your own products and giving it a try at e.g. Kickstarter. Don’t think you are too special, but be humble and open minded and talk about your ideas with several people, having fun and not taking it too seriously ;-)
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I personally love the diversity of the job. Every project is different, you always have to work together with people from several fields (engineers, marketing, CEOs, model maker, consumer…) so it never ever gets boring. You also can grasp your creation which is very satisfactory. Negatives? Not for me ;-)
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
The must have is a good aesthetic sense. Creativity and an open mind. Understanding people. At product design technical know-how. And nowadays skills with design software.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
Paper, pen, the fastest laptop possible, a big screen, 3D and 2D design software, material references, big pin walls, a workshop for fast model making, music.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
Defining tasks and the time needed as clear as possible is essential for one self and for the customer to know, but I am lucky to have a very good sense of time.
What is your life motto as a designer?
Companies are concerned that the project runs without surprises on time, so deadline questions are very frequently asked. But I think the most “not asked question” is: What if we don’t like your design? So I always get to that point by myself and sense relief form the customer :-)
What is the role of technology when you design?
I worked together with known companies like Tchibo, Remington, Siemens, Telekom, vtech and also smaller specialized companies like Funktel, Getemed, Ammonit, Neuhaus Neotec, Esbit, etc. and also with start-ups.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
I love the first creative phase being excited about coming up with new ideas. I also love the design detailing on 3D-CAD and visualizing “my” created product with near photographic detail from all angles.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
I love working for companies, but I want to create and bring to market more of my own products, like the “Whale Spoon”.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
I am exploring the field of products for kids and have a lot of ideas already. But the real challenge is to create a product that is actually sold with profit.

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