»My heart is very much attached to the Braun brand,« says Oliver Grabes. The HfG graduate supervises the design of all Braun products at the Kronberg Development Centre. He has been Director of Grooming Industrial Design & Braun Franchise Design at Procter & Gamble (P&G) Service GmbH, since 2009. The body and hair care products marketed by P&G (Braun shavers, beard trimmers, epilators, hair dryers, hair straighteners and hair brushes) are designed in Kronberg, as are the Braun watches and alarm clocks, which are produced under license. Grabes also oversees the design of household Braun appliances.
Grabes' priority is to maintain the »quality and design« of all Braun products. It is about »reinterpreting a brand feeling«. The Braun look has become well known through the designs of Dieter Rams, following the maxim: »Less, but better«. Grabes wants to build on its »clarity and simplicity.« He is also very much involved in product communication. This includes the design of the packaging as well as the look in social media and retail contexts. One of his tasks is to convey the significance and influence of the design to colleagues from other departments.
According to Grabes, he devotes half of his working hours to management and design communication within the company. The other half is reserved for creative teamwork on products and product communication. The Kronberg Development Centre employs 25 designers, model builders and CAD specialists.
Oliver Grabes graduated from the Product Design (Design) department at the HfG Offenbach in 1992. One worked and learnt a lot in student groups then. »We successfully participated in many design competitions,« he recalls. The professors allowed the students the freedom to work on and to try out things themselves. This demanded a lot of self-motivation. His studies were for him a »departure into the great world«, Grabes summed up. He completed several international internships and worked for many years at various design offices in the Netherlands, USA and England. Not least, he learnt how to make technical products more understandable through simple design as well as how to design them so they visibly and consciously stand out in the lives of millions of people.