Every designer’s journey is different. Some start out knowing exactly what they want to design, while others stumble on their niche over time. For Joseph Haecker, design was always a part of his life. “As a kid, I was big into doodling and playing with Legos, and those interests grew into an 18-year career designing light fixtures.” explained Haecker while at the Spring 2018 High Point Market expo.
Today, the vast majority of the casinos in Las Vegas feature light fixtures custom designed by Haecker.
And as if owning and leading this in-demand business wasn’t enough, Haecker also uses his design experience to help inspire, influence, and collaborate with other industry professionals through DezignWall, a social design network, and Design Talk LIVE, a weekly Facebook LIVE broadcast for fellow designers and design enthusiasts.
Who is Joseph Haecker and why is he shaking up the design world (in a good way!)? Here’s more on one of House Tipster’s favorite design influencers.
From Legos to Solar Lights and Consulting: A Designer at Work
Joseph Haecker has come a long way from his Lego-building days.
In 2003, he started working for Triton Chandelier, a high-end lighting powerhouse that creates lighting for gaming and hospitality environments. His years at Triton didn’t just give him experience designing and manufacturing fixtures and leading a 14-person team; it also got him thinking about the various ways he could bring light into a room through specially designed fixtures.
When he transitioned to SolaTube, he used these ideas to shake up their design process. “[At SolaTube, I designed the decorative fixtures you put below the solar tubes that draw light into the room. When I got there, the idea of putting something in front of the tube was a no-no, but I proved that you could create better light in a room by adding an accent fixture that also fit the decor,” said Haecker.
These two experiences and more broadened Haecker’s reach. Soon, companies were coming to him for consultations, so he established OC-3D Solid Designs in 2008. Through this company, Haecker provides invaluable design, manufacturing, budgeting, and project management advice to dozens of lighting design and manufacturing companies throughout North America.
Creating a Hub for Other Designers
DezignWall, Haecker’s social networking brainchild, brings together his design experience and passion for technology.
Although the idea percolated for some time, Haecker officially started the company in 2013 and immediately began drawing in legions of other designers who wanted to be a part of this innovative social platform.
“5 years ago, I had an ‘aha moment.’ I figured the future of the design world was social collaboration, and that I needed to find a way to meet the needs of the design industry and design enthusiasts in a social way, which became DezignWall.”
DezignWall fills a specific niche. It’s part-social network, part marketing tool. It’s a place where designers can connect with colleges and vendors, showcase their own projects, and engage with manufacturers and suppliers. The site’s signature virtual mood boards, which add an engaging visual element, facilitate the collaboration.
“Since people are on some type of social platform, it’s only natural and logical to do this for design as well,” stated Haecker.
Haecker’s life may be centered around design, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to fit the mold of a traditional designer.
In fact, in the middle of 2017, Haecker was fed up with the whole concept of trends– which is virtually unheard of in the industry. In his now infamous Facebook LIVE rant, he stated as such.
That single Facebook LIVE broadcast, aptly titled “F*** the Trends,” soon turned into something so much more.
In a matter of weeks, Haecker’s rants were drawing in an online audience of 100,000+ on Facebook (a feat never seen before on the platform). Donna Moss, the “Queen of Bling,” came on as a co-host during week-seven, and together, they reached over 2 million viewers in the first year of their program: Design Talk LIVE.
The weekly show uses a live call-in broadcast format using Facebook LIVE where the hosts, their guests, and callers discuss everything from pop culture to design and even some hot topics. Celebrities, including supermodels, fellow designers, and musicians have all appeared on the show– each one bringing their own perspective and audience draw. “I’m utterly shocked by the success of it,” said Haecker.
“I knew [Design Talk LIVE] was going to be an ongoing conversation with the design community about the design industry. I encourage listeners to get pissed, get inspired, but get talking.”
Branching Out & Helping the Next Generation
With his spanning influence and network of connections, Joseph Haecker is, quite frankly, taking over the design world.
Recently, he brought together past and current designers for the Unofficial HGTV Stars Reunion at the Fall 2018 High Point Market. This highly successful event allowed the stars to mix, mingle, and collaborate.
He’s also expanding his Design Talk LIVE show to an entire network that includes multiple programs such as Naked Runway, Let’s Talk Country, Design Hot Seat, and A Student’s Perspective.
But one of the most exciting projects on Haecker’s horizon is a new scholarship program he’s working on for future designers. Roughly 60-70% of the sponsorship funds from A Student’s Perspective, a student-led interview hour on the Design Talk LIVE network, is going straight into the hands of budding designers in the form of scholarships and grant money. This scholarship initiative is the perfect way for Haecker to give back and promote the next generation of style-influencers.
By bringing the biggest names in design together in a real, raw, and collaborative way, Joseph Haecker is influencing a new era of design, and we’re happy to be along for the ride.
Check out the full video coverage from our special 2018 Spring HPMKT interview with Joseph below: