As already announced here is our interview with Jens Munser, helmet designer (www.jmd.de). He designs most of our race-helmets.
TS: “Welcome and thank you for taking your time to be interviewed. Jens Munser, designer of racing helmets – how did it all start ? ”
JM: “It started with the fact that you drive motocross as a hobby and be surprised that there are well-styled helmets in America which fit perfectly to the bike-outfit. In Germany, there wasn´t anything like tihis apart from the helmets off the shelf. I really liked that style and so I searched for someone to paint my helmet but because I haven´t found anyone in Germany, I had to do it myself. It was not easy to acquire the knowledge, but it was always my goal to style helmets and that did kept me going.”
TS: “When did you design your first helmet?”
JM: “That was in 1993 when I commerzialised my first helmet. Until then, I was busy with learning airbrush, acquiring design knowledge, watching other painters work, but in 1993 I did my first helmet as a professional.
TS: Have you been satisfied with your first helmet? ”
JM: (laughs) Not really – I sanded it shortly afterwards. That was my motocross helmet, which after a year I didn´t like that much anymore. Now I am annoyed, of course, because that would have been my first helmet. But the second version still exists. ”
TS: “How many professional drivers do you supply nowadays ?”
(Felipe Massa, my personal favorite from Jens)
JM: “Right now there are 8 formula 1 drivers and some DTM and GP2.”
TS: “How do you start with the design draft, when a driver approaches you?”
JM: “We try to limit the type of design first. What does the customer want, what are his ideas. Usually it helps to have a look at our homepage (www.jmd.de). We have about 600 helmets online where you can pick out certain basic ideas in order for us not to be in the dark. Afterwards we try to estimate the costs and delivery time and then we start with a computer simulation of the coating. Then we send it to the customer and if needed chang the design until the customer is satisfied. ”
TS: “Have you ever discouraged a driver to use a specific design? And if so, why? ”
JM: “Not an entire design, but details that you discuss with the driver and tell him that it won´t fit. Mostly in cases where it´s clear from the beginning that you shouldn´t do that. A classic mistake is to create a gradient from yellow to black: there will always be brown in between. This may look good on the screen or in your imagination, but in reality it just looks dirty.
TS: “What does the helmet design represent for a Formula 1 driver?”
JM: “It´s very important for most drivers – the helmet is the only area where they can decide for themselves how it looks. The car, the overall and everything else is already decided. So this is the only place where they can express their individualism.“