10 Questions With... Drew Carlson | Eastman Innovation Lab

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10 Questions With...

10 Questions With... Drew Carlson

12 October 2016

At the Eastman Innovation Lab we look to our fellow design and materials experts for inspiration, community, and expertise. In order to get to know them and their projects better, we created a column called Ten Questions With...

Drew Carlson is the Senior Industrial Designer at Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. With his education and many years of experience in design, it is no surprise he successfully founded a Consumer design company where he was a partner for over six years. His independent drive for learning and creating has made him an asset to the Hamilton Beach Brand for nearly the last six years.

What is your company known for?

Hamilton Beach is known for heritage, authentic products that feel good and truthful, but at an obtainable price.

How does the team and how do you work from ideation all the way through to
the end product? What’s that process like?

We have six industrial designers in-house and we work rather autonomously with a project. Through the phases there is a lot of collaboration between marketing, engineering, and purchasing. There are many people coming in and giving opinions and feedback along the way especially at the sketching stage. Then so much of what I like to do is work with my hands, so a computer or machine will start something off, but I will finish it by hand.

What is the next project or product that you’d be most excited to explore?

I’ve been getting into yogurt making, and we have some appliances that have the ability to do things at very low temperature and culture. I told myself I wouldn’t attempt yogurt a second time if I didn’t like it, but it turned out insanely good.

What themes do you find yourself addressing over and over again?

Designing for all people and thinking inclusively. We think about aging populations, pregnancy, and temporary disabilities. There is a balance between creating a design you feel confident in and getting everyone to feel confident in the final product.

How do materials matter to you?

There is an emotional response when you touch a variety of materials. In the kitchen sometimes you want the cold metal, or the hefty class, or feeling different types of plastic gives a sense of place and emotion.

Who is doing work that you find inspiring?

My father being an architect inspired me to be here, and still inspires me as I create a product or a line of products.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Try new things to seize every opportunity. You have to discover and follow your curiosity to create good design.

What technology gets you excited?

I’m interested in different ways to make user interfaces outside of just LCDs, getting other tactile things to have curves. I’m really interested in bending and shaping light to enhance a user’s experience with its interface.

What is something you’d like to be better at?

Speaking and educating. My next step is to tell the world what Hamilton Beach is doing and to acknowledge all the people here and how we are going to build our brand. I think that is going to involve me talking a lot and educating people.

What is your go-to reference book?

Ray and Charles Eames’s big coffee table book. I reference magazines more than the internet. Like Japanese car styling magazines.


Coffee or tea?


Droid or OS?


Kindle or book?

I use neither right now

Sketch or build?


What are you reading right now?

"Designing For People" by Henry Dreyfuss

Is there any website or social media place you go to for inspiration?

Notcot.org, or Marc Newson is a book I go to for inspiration.