If you want to make a well-designed product, give it some love

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Credit: Jakub Mosur

At the center of any good product design is a whole lot of heart. Mladen Barbaric, the founder and CEO of Pearl Studios, explained at Gigaom’s Roadmap conference Wednesday why design is a “deeply human and profoundly emotional” process, and design projects created with love have a better chance to resonate with the general populace.

“I think that creating brands and products is something that requires us to reach deep inside and it’s a very emotional endeavor,” said Barbaric.

During his session, Barbaric interwove tales from his childhood with examples about how the specific lessons he learned over the years could be seen in some of the companies his design firm works with.

As a kid, Barbaric’s love for art drove him to draw all over the place–including the walls and ceilings of his house, much to his father’s chagrin. When Barbaric’s mom showed she was impressed with how he managed to scribble on the ceilings despite the difficulty, he realized that success is vision with relentless pursuit and that obstacles make for better stories.

Barbaric then tied that lesson to his firm’s work with the video-capturing startup 360fly. Although the startup’s device contained some innovative technology in regards to recording panoramic video, the hardware looked a bit clunky and needed some design tweaking.

With a little help from Pearl Studios, the device was reconfigured to take on the shape of an orb that was “built like a tank but crafted like a crystal,” said Barbaric. The smaller shape of the orb also led to the idea that the device could be a “killer action camera” used by snowboarders or surfers to record their fun without them having to worry about focussing the camera.

The new design took off and 360fly was able to land a $17.8 million series B round and the device will be shipping in early 2015. And you can chalk up that success to a lot of heart and determination.

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