26 December 2009

The Process

By Judd Lord, guest blogger

Supposedly, Keith Richards dreamed the guitar riff of “Satisfaction.” He woke up, recorded himself playing the notes into a bedside tape recorder, and fell back asleep. What he had the next morning was a few seconds of guitar and an hour of snoring.

I don’t want to say I’ve had experiences similar to Keith’s but, as Paul has written in this very blog, I did get the idea for Brizo’s Venuto faucet line from the hair utensils worn by Japanese women during a good night of sake at a restaurant. That was a classic napkin sketch moment for me. Woke up the next day, pulled the crumpled thing out of my pocket and thought, “Huh? What was I supposed to do with this?!”

Design has to have a personal story or history to the designer. Delta's Victorian line grew out of a trip to New Orleans; take the top portion of the Victorian handle, turn it vertical and you will see the center of a fleur de lis. Brizo's Floriano was inspired by a dying flower in a vase. The aesthetic of water folding over itself in the Brizo Vesi channel was inspired by a section of stream in Minnesota where I used to vacation.

What’s even more important than the inspiration for design, though, is the collaboration of the design team. Every designer brings their own life experiences and perspectives to the table. Multiple people on the team provide input throughout the refinement process. It’s that collaboration and melding of perspectives that really make for a stronger overall design in the end.

Consumers of a product will choose one product over another based on a wide set of variables, something in the back of your head that makes you choose this one over that one – size, feel, weight, function, experience; tactile, auditory or aesthetic qualities. As designers we strive to pull more of the users' senses into the experience, to hit upon those intangibles. Every product is a solution to a problem, and it’s better to have more designs than fewer, the widest spread of solution sets to work with.

In other words, Keith Richards may have come up with the riff, but it took the rest of the Stones to turn that into “Satisfaction.” Most designers love this process, of collaborating on problems, of taking something from inspiration to completion. No one goes into the field wanting to design packaged goods or laser printers… no offense to laser printers. You go into design school thinking you want to design cars, but soon realize it’s the design process you love, the challenge of putting all the pieces together.

And believe me, working with something as intangible as water is a challenge. But it’s one I love, too.

Judd Lord began his career at Delta Faucet Company® over sixteen years ago. In 2000 he was appointed manager of industrial design with the challenge to establish Delta Faucet as a design and innovation forward company. In 2004 he was instrumental in laying out the groundwork for the Brizo portfolio, personally designing several of the initial marquee product suites in the fashion-forward brand. In 2006 he was made director of industrial design and continues to oversee creative direction for both the Brizo and Delta brands. Lord's passion for design and his ability to make an emotional connection with the consumer through product design has lead to hundreds of design patents and numerous design awards.


  1. Judd, This is great. I think it is so cool to know how these designs came about! Often times I come across something very unique and wonder aloud, "how'd they think this up?" I LUV this stuff and eat up the details.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Laurie: Judd and his team have a story for everything they do. Like you, I'm captivated by their process. Maybe we can get Judd to come back to tell my favorite faucet story, the inspiration for Brizo's RSVP.


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