Approach

 
Brandon_Leedy_RFI_1-BW.jpg

Hi, I’m Brandon

…and I have a passion for creating products that become a part of your everyday. I believe that good product design is about creating user experiences that function as beautifully as they look — by leveraging the complicated constraints of user needs, brand identity, and manufacturing — rather than being hindered by them. It’s just the cost of entry into the market today to ship a beautiful object. True success is to design experiences worth talking about — product experiences that amplify brand ideals and improve people’s lives.

ETHOS

Good industrial design comes from fulfilling a job to be done through the graceful application of constraints. In today’s market, design, innovation, and branding are inextricably linked. But we cannot “innovate” for the sake of innovating just to stimulate a market, in the way that design or branding can. There’s a cultural responsibility — one that’s greater than our commercial responsibility — when we design objects and experiences. Design is a method of leveraging consumerism, but we must strive to work beyond just that. The Bauhaus believed that the main application of design and technology was to “create the highest quality of objects for the most people.” While this may sound idealistic, I believe this is still the gold standard of intention when it comes to design. It is our imperative as humans that are complicit in an increasingly deteriorating planet to rethink how and what we consume. Therefore designers have a responsibility to rethink how and what is created. True quality of life as humans is not based on consumption, it is based on needs being met and experiences being fulfilling — both of which design can provide. Through the preservation of tangible quality and intangible heritage (a way of living, nature, etc.) we can design objects and experiences that improve lives long-term, and can be accessible to everyone regardless of circumstance.

The design process requires balancing a variety of demands, such as: Is it a breakthrough product? Does it serve the brand’s purpose? Is it financially feasible? But ultimately, a design should answer: Why does the world need this object? What unique value does it bring compared to what’s come before it? If the answer at any point is merely “to be new” then the product is a piece of fashion — and while it may be stylish — a design should have something more substantial to offer. With the simple market demand for “more” and “new” comes an increased connection to stimulus but a distinct disconnect from what matters: our fellow humans. Successful experience design works from a holistic point of view that takes into account the connection between environment, users, and object. I believe a holistic approach to product can bring about more genuine experiences and more humanity. 

As human beings, were are not as specific as the singular business title or role that we hold. We are all hybrids, and deliver value far greater than the sum of our skills. I aim to design at the crucial intersection between product development and brand experience, but there’s no role or title to define that. To that end, as a hybrid designer I try to hold myself to a high level of ethics and responsibility: create sustainable beauty, defend good work, support sane budgets, market oneself humanely, and be kind. From this approach, I hope to reach a balance of humility and autonomy that empowers everyone do their best work.

BIO

Brandon is a designer living in Covington, Kentucky with his wife Blair, and their daughter Ruth. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Brandon was always drawing and building things from a young age. After a few timely interactions with the work of Raymond Loewy, Charles & Ray Eames, and Jony Ive, Brandon chose to study industrial design at the University of Cincinnati, College of D.A.A.P. During this period, he worked full-time for companies like WestRock and Frontgate, bringing multiple successful products to market. 

After graduating with a BS in industrial design in 2011, Brandon worked full-time at Stress Engineering Services, consulting for a huge breadth of clients. Brandon designed products ranging from medical capital equipment to disposable consumer packaged goods. He left Stress in 2016 to become the Marketing Director for the 3D printing education startup, Polar 3D — helping them secure a $2M contract for national distribution in schools — through his redesign of their brand, marketing, and cloud software. At this time he also began teaching Industrial Design as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati for multiple semesters. In 2017, Brandon co-founded the design firm, Pixel And Timber. There he built the brand, marketing, and operations while also executing a wide variety of projects for his clients. Highlights of his time at P&T were completing projects with GE, Target, and establishing the company as a 1% For The Planet Member. After 2.5 years and substantial growth in the firm, Brandon sold his shares and is pursuing the next step in his career, with a focus on the intersection of branding and product design. In his free time, he enjoys hiking with his wife and daughter, fly fishing, and painting.