Interview with Saar Friedman, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Director of OPEN, ISR

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Saar Friedman

Saar is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of OPEN with nearly two decades of experience in building local and global brands, teaching and applying his methodology, Improve Design to all projects he touches.

Saar Friedman | OPEN | Muse Awards

Interview with the 2019 Muse Creative Awards Winner - Saar Friedman

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself, your company, job profile, etc.
My name is Saar Friedman and I am the co-owner and Chief Creative Director at OPEN, the leading branding design agency in Israel. I have nearly two decades of experience in building local and global brands. Apart from my great love of design, football and branding, I am also an amateur runner, participating regularly in marathons, and a proud father of four.

After working with world renowned brands such as Hisense, Soda Stream, Sprite, ELAL Airlines, Elementor, Playtika, Lotus, Tuborg and Plarium - I decided to try a new approach to the way we design. I worked long and hard in order to establish a methodology, called Improve Design, so I can teach others to apply this novel way of thinking about design.

At OPEN, we create brands, products, digital and advertising brands, to do so, we use strategy, creative design and content, we come with open mind to every challenge.
2Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2019 Muse Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
For both projects we entered, we used my Improve Design methodology. We went for the unknown and got results that were unexpected and unique in their designs. My results brought me to the realization that we have the potential to win awards at a global level.
3What was the biggest challenge with this project?
TNX- The biggest challenge that we faced with this project was getting people to initially approach the gift shop. We wanted the everyday consumer to intuitively buy something from someone who was mentally challenged. We wanted the products to speak for themselves and attract people just from first glance. We did not want customers to see their purchase as charity, but rather a normal purchase because of their love and interest in the products. Our task was to make people interested in the products before even speaking with a sales representative.

Mekudeshet 2018- The biggest challenge that we face every year with this project is combining all religions and cultures into one three-week-long event. We really wanted to break down the barriers and make everyone feel wanted and apart of the festival. We wanted everyone to genuinely be interested in attending the event and accommodate everyone living in and visiting the city of Jerusalem. Making all cultures, religions, social and economic classes set aside their differences and come together was a challenging but practical task to complete.
4Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
I believe that the fundamentals of understanding human needs will stay the same but the tools that are used to introduce people to new brands will change. In order to keep people interested and loyal to brands, different tools and ideas need to be used and tested.
5Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
My childhood dream was to be a football (soccer) player. When I was 18, I came to the realization that my skills were not enough to allow me to play on the top professional teams. Twenty years later, when I began working in design, I developed my Improv Design methodology. After creating this methodology, I realized how many similarities there were between Improv and the football game flow.
6Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Israeli: Adi Stern (school teacher) - Adi Stern, a teacher of mine, taught me the importance of being accurate in my design. He told me that every tiny detail of the entire design experience needs to be as precise and organized as possible.

Global: Paula Scher - Paula Scher, an American designer who works for Pentagram, gave me an insight into the importance of being precise in branding. She taught me to pay attention to all aspects of the branding process and to be specific and accurate. She also chose my companies branding work for Mekudeshet 2017 as the project of the year which was featured on Brand New.
7What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
1) Have the passion to learn and develop. The industry is constantly changing and you must be open to learning new things. This is where I got the name for my company, OPEN. Being open, alert, and aware of the changes and new ideas around you will bring you great success in your field of interest. No matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn, grow, and improve. In order to be a specialist in your field, you must stay on top of the latest research and trends.

2) Design is not free art, it has value. You are not just doing design for fun, you are completing it for a client as a valuable project. The client’s opinions and feedback are valuable. You must learn to understand their opinions and create work for them that will satisfy their wants and needs.

3) There is no one way to approach design. You need to constantly invent new ways to approach new projects. Design is all about flexibility.

Winning Entries

TNX- Inspired by the Mentally Challenged | Nonprofit | 2019

TNX- Inspired by the Mentally Challenged | OPEN | Muse Awards
This is the story of an artizinal gifting company whose products are produced and sold by the mentally challenged. Often times, this community is put to work behind the scenes, backstage... (read more)

TNX- Inspired by the Mentally Challenged | Product Branding

TNX- Inspired by the Mentally Challenged | OPEN | Muse Awards
This is the story of an artizinal gifting company whose products are produced and sold by the mentally challenged. Often times, this community is put to work behind the scenes, backstage... (read more)

Mekudeshet- Jerusalem Art Festival | 2019

Mekudeshet- Jerusalem Art Festival | OPEN | Muse Awards
Such a powerful word, in every language, resonates a different meaning to each one. It is probably one of the strongest brands in the world.... (read more)



OPEN is an Israeli-based design agency that create brands, products, digital and advertising brands by using strategy, creative design and consent, keeping an open mind to every challenge.