The birth of a product is usually quite formulaic — the creative team of a company develops an idea, and the marketing branch figures out a way to sell that idea.
But for Yves Behar and his San Francisco design company fuseproject, the creative and the marketing team are one in the same.
“There are development gaps in most products conceived,” said Behar, a native of Switzerland. “Engineering sides of a company conceive a product, and then branding has to find ways to sell it. I believe both groups should find the message of the product first, then make the design around that message.”
That singular philosophy has driven Behar and fuseproject to levels of success and critical acclaim.
In the past, fuseproject has helped design and market products as diverse as sandals for Birkenstock, to sleek, low-energy consuming LED lamps for Herman Miller. Projects like the LED lamps are an example of how Behar has managed to marry visually impressive objects with equally practical purposes.
The 37-year-old Behar began his interest in design when he was a 15-year-old in Switzerland, then cultivated that passion at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
After stops as a consultant at design firms in Silicon Valley, Behar founded fuseproject in 1999.
Since the foundation of his brand design firm, Behar has maintained a high-profile list of clients (Nike and Toshiba, among others) while keeping in mind his vision of personal connectivity.
“It’s the human experience that drives me,” said Behar, who resides in the Oakland hills. “To me there is nothing worse than specialists. I want the freshness approach to everything — the humanistic design in every product we create.”
Along with his work at fuseproject, Behar has also exhibited his works at the SFMOMA and the Musée de Design et d’arts Appliqués Contemporains in Lausanne, Switzerland. Behar has also recently been named creative director at the mobile technology company Aliph, where he has helped create innovative wireless communication devices — yet another product where Behar has lent his unique vision.
“I want to continue to participate in giant projects,” Behar said. “I want to be there from the start of the creative process, not someone who just polishes something up.”