Why a good relationship designer/technician counts more than any skill?

TIP 161 Why a good relationship designer%2Ftechnician counts more than any skill- The design sketchbook - product and industrial design sketching tutorial (1)


Whenever we have a problem, we dig in the past to find a similar case to solve the case. I believe there is an even better approach: To do the same, but add in a pinch of creativity!

To do that, we have to be ready “to reconsider the truth”.
Your interlocutor may be an expert, but do NOT take for granted he knows everything. If you want to get a specific result, and he tells you that he can’t for x-reason (which is often technical) – question him and try to find a solution with him.

Carpenter of Bang Sue - Chou Tac - The Design Sketchbook

Me and Somkid from the Carpenters of Bang Sue road – Bangkok

The technician will often answer you from what he already knows, from what is proven.
Which is great, because he has so much more experience than you in his domain. However, your job as a designer is to provoke the present, and take risk. Propose some new perspective, asking What if… ? How about… ?

You can ask anything with humility. Any technician will be glad to cooperate with you. Sometime, the answer is super simple and just need a bit of creativity input only.

To make any project succeed,
a good relationship with the team is more important than any skill.


I always enjoy meeting new people
as we can learn a lot from them. So we carry on visiting the shop from Bang Sue road and meet more carpenters and professionals of wood. We met a shop that showcase laser cutting work.

Laser cutting is used by the industry to cut material using laser. The whole process is operated by a computer. To do so, we give to the supplier an .ai file (Native format of Illustrator)

But they didn’t speak english well enough for us to converse (and we don’t speak Thai), so she directed us to an other shop, who I believe is her friend, but also competitor.

We met a smily person who was welcoming and very friendly.
We asked him few questions. He was not the technician himself, so whenever he couldn’t answer well, he asked to his team.




Taking some wood measurement for the wood board

What type of wood do you use ?
We use Plywood, also called Rubber wood – as it come from the tree that produce rubber.

What is the maximum thickness of the wood board for the laser cutting ?

How much does it cost to use laser cutting ?
It depends of the type of work. It doesn’t depend of the size, but the time. Longer it takes for the machine to process, more expensive it will be.

Between laser cutting and laser edge, which one is more expensive ?
Laser edging cost more. Even though the laser is not as strong as laser cutting, it covers more surface.

Laser edge wood The design sketchbook.jpg

Sample of laser edge on plywood.

There is burn edges for the laser cutting. How to avoid this?
We can’t avoid them unfortunately. Thicker the wood, stronger the laser will be.

I noticed on a sample that one side was burnt, but the verso was clean. So I asked him: Can we send you the mirror image of the artwork, so we could get it clean? 
Yes of course!

Laser cut wood - the design sketchbook

Recto is clean – Verso is burnt

When can you deliver?
It depends. The machine is on site. If you need, we can process now.

As a designer, you can take any inspiration and export it in other domains. For example, laser cutting is commonly used in Fashion industry.

I actually used to proceed with Laser cutting project on leather when I used to work for the shoe industry in China. It was pretty cool to see our artwork become reality on a piece of leather, then applied on a lady shoe.

Somkid, our interlocutor is actually mixed Thai and Chinese. His father is Teochew like me (Chinese minority)- so he could actually speak the dialect. Maybe if he could not speak English we may had this exchange in Teochew. Hehe.

Conclusion of what today inspired me:
Be humble, and get patient. A good working relationship is always better with a smile. 🙂

And you, how do you deal with the design or technical team? Is it more like a tension, competition or a complete harmony ? Let us know about your experience in the comments!

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About The Author


If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my career, I believe that they can also help you to learn, and help you with your projects. Whether Design is a job or a hobby it doesn’t matter, so long as you do what is important to you.


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