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PD+I 2015 Conference, London

The PD+I conference is back on 20-21 May 2015 at a brand new London venue and – building on the great work of Kevin McCullagh in the first four years – a new conference chair, Chris Lefteri. Chris is an internationally recognized authority on materials and their application in design, as well as editor and creative director of Ingredients magazine, and founder and owner of Chris Lefteri Design. Watch the highlights video and read our review articles below for a taste of the inspirational 2014 event. Contact Tom Harris tharris@crain.com to hear about the 2015 conference.


Features

Pulling power: a zip that goes round curves

 
27 February 2015 - The zip fastener is a product that is over 100 years old. Yet, in all that time no-one has come up with a design that allows zips to go round a curve. Wendy Howard and her partners Andy Honour and Ray Pitman think they have come up with the answer and are looking for manufacturers with the vision to take their innovation into production, writes David Eldridge. Read our feature on the design and development of ZipZag. Wendy Howard will be presenting at PD+I 2015, discussing How to Improve the Effectiveness of Studying Industrial Design. 

Seymour and Hegarty on how to persuade the client

5 June 2014 - A dialogue between design and advertising agency giants Richard Seymour (Seymourpowell) and John Hegarty (Bartle Bogle Hegarty) was a pinnacle at PD+I 2014, where they shared their experience and insights into overcoming obstacles presented by clients, writes David Eldridge.

Seymour said: “Unless you can provide [the manager] with a different way of doing it, that’s going to make them look good in their business, it’s not going to happen.”

“You can do something they can’t. That gives you power,” said Hegarty.


Brunner at PD+I 2014: Now designers are the heroes

4 June 2014 - Industrial designers have greater potential for influencing corporates than they believe, according to speakers at PD+I 2014, who suggested ways and means to “Make stuff happen”, the main theme at the London conference in May, writes David Eldridge.

“Five years ago in San Francisco, all the heroes were technologists. Today designers are the heroes,” said Robert Brunner, one time head of industrial design at Apple, before he founded Ammunition in the US and became chief designer at Beats by Dr Dre (until its takeover by Apple in May).

“This is your time – take advantage of it,” Brunner told the PD+I audience in the opening keynote.


Digital design breaks out of the box at DOTY 2014

31 March 2014 - It must be increasingly difficult for the Design Museum to allot nominations to categories in its Designs of the Year (DOTY) awards. It created a Digital category to recognise great work in new media, but this new context for design is proving to be leaky, writes David Eldridge. The 2014 nominations include Metro Trains: Dumb Ways to Die, which is a smartphone game, interactive posters, a book and more, designed by McCann Melbourne to make young people think about rail safety. It’s in the Digital category, but could have been placed in the Graphics section.

And what about the Touch Board – is this Digital, Graphic or Product? Designed by Bare Conductive, the Touch Board is a way to turn any surface into an interface, by means of painted and conductive images linked by electrodes to the functioning object. At the DOTY 2014 show, you can make sounds by playing a keyboard painted onto the exhibition wall, or touch a switch graphic to turn on a lamp.

As with anything new, designers are exploring the possibilities of digital design and when old boundaries are met they are being crossed. The Lego Calendar, another nomination in the Digital category, is a playful project which has a clear physical presence – a wall planner made of Lego where colour coded bricks represent time spent on projects. Take a photo of the planner (pictured above) with a smartphone and all of the events and timings are synchronised to an online calendar.


In The Making: Barber Osgerby share their wonder at frozen objects

27 January 2014 - In The Making is the latest in a growing number of design exhibitions, seminars and books that examine production and materials, treating the process in a similar way to the finished object, writes David Eldridge. There are two differentiators with the Design Museum’s new show: the objects are shown at a part-way point in their manufacture; and the collection has been curated by Barber Osgerby, the pair who have joined the UK’s design elite since designing the Olympic Torch for the 2012 games.

“We are in love with and invigorated by the making process,” said Jay Osgerby at a preview where he and Edward Barber showed journalists around the small exhibition. The 25 objects they have selected range widely from an Underground train’s aluminium face to a rack of pencils, yet they are all frozen in the process of becoming a finished product.



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Latest Articles

Pulling power: a zip that goes round curves

27 February 2015 - The zip fastener is a product that is over 100 years old. Yet, in all that time no-one has come up with a design that allows zips to go round a curve. Wendy Howard and her partners Andy Honour and Ray Pitman think they have come up with the answer and are looking for manufacturers with the vision to take their innovation into production, writes David Eldridge. Read our feature on the design and development of ZipZag. Wendy Howard will be presenting at PD+I 2015, discussing How to Improve the Effectiveness of Studying Industrial Design. 


The winner’s post at DBA Design Effectiveness Awards

20 February 2015 - British Industrial Designers Association (BIDA) is celebrating the success of two of its members, Alloy and LA Design, which both won gold at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2015. Alloy won for its work on the BT Hub 5, and LA Design won for a referee’s electronic paging system designed for its client Touchline Flags. Alloy and BT’s entry also won the coveted Grand Prix “best of the best” at this year’s award, as well as the Sustainability Award.

BIDA said: “The brief for Hub 5 was driven by a wide ranging customer experience audit, highlighting several issues that could be resolved through a number of design interventions. However, a key challenge was to ensure the device would fit through a letterbox inside its’ postal packaging, to allow a smoother progression from service sign up to installation.

“The insight of using a postbox as a key driver of form factor enables BT to reduce costs, improve the initial customer experience, and significantly lower BT and their customers CO2 emissions. It was a hugely complex challenge that required effective collaboration numerous BT teams & Alloy to deliver a new service with demonstrably better product, packaging & technology to deliver a market leading service.” 


Airbnb’s new head of design questions ‘design culture’

3 February 2015 - Airbnb, the current darling of the IPO world, has appointed Alex Schleifer (pictured right), previously with Say Media, as its head of design. In an interview at Wired, titled Why Airbnb’s New Head of Design Believes ‘Design-Led’ Companies Don’t Work, Schleiffer says: “In the last few years experience design has really been given a seat at the executive table. But the models that were inspired by industrial design and older companies just don’t apply.” Instead, he thinks designers should be de-emphasised at tech firms and the user viewpoint is made paramount in the organisation. Interesting to compare his remarks with the views of Robert Brunner, our keynote speaker at PD+I 2014, who told industrial designers: “This is your time.”


Chris Lefteri looks towards PD+I

12 January 2015 - Chris Lefteri, chair of our PD+I 2015 conference, says he will build on the great work done by Kevin McCullagh and our event team in the first four years of PD+I. “PD+I has always had a high level of quality, with some really great speakers over the years, and I want to build on this, particularly at an international level,” said Lefteri, whose career has spanned industrial design, books, magazines, academia and materials consultancy. “At the end of the day, people are hungry for knowledge and want to learn, and PD+I is a great place in which to do this.” Read the press release. PD+I 2015 takes place at the America Square Conference Centre in London on 20-21 May.


Ian Callum is given Minerva Medal

23 December 2014 - Ian Callum (above), director of design at Jaguar, has been awarded the prestigious Minerva Medal by the Chartered Society of Designers for his outstanding contribution to automotive design. Callum has led the design renaissance at Jaguar in his 15 years at the company. He started his career as a designer with Ford, moving to manager of the Ghia design studio in Turin. He went on to manage TWR Design, before joining Jaguar. CSD said Callum is the first car designer to be awarded the Minerva Medal since Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1981.


Pains, strains and automobiles

27 November 2014 - Two leading lights from the PD+I conferences, James Woudhuysen and Kevin McCullagh, have recently published articles on transportation – a key arena for 21st century debates on sustainability and innovation. In James’ article, he decries retrogressive attempts to move us away from the supposed evil of cars and planes, and offers six arguments for innovation in transport, including why you can’t manage the demand for transport down. Kevin’s article on the Telegraph’s website suggests innovation will happen at the individual level, through smartphone apps and internet-connected vehicles. Electric vehicles, though, are likely to “remain niche lifestyle accessories for the rich due to their expense, charging hassle and flat battery concerns”, he says.


PD+I is back in 2015 for 5th anniversary

21 November 2014 - Our PD+I conference is returning to London for 2015 with a brand new venue and – building on the great work of Kevin McCullagh in the first four years – a new conference chair, Chris Lefteri. Chris is an internationally recognized authority on materials and their application in design, as well as editor and creative director of Ingredients magazine, and founder and owner of Chris Lefteri Design Ltd – through which he has worked with several Fortune 100 companies and major design studios across Europe, the US and Asia. The unique two-day conference will be held on the 20th and 21st May at London’s America Square conference facility.


Ive laments graduate skills gap

17 November 2014 - A complaint that regularly arises at our PD+I conferences is that product design graduates often lack the skills that employers are looking for. Jonathan Ive (right) at Apple has added his criticism that design schools are equipping students with CAD skills and little in the way of understanding physical products. "So many of the designers that we interview don't know how to make stuff, because workshops in design schools are expensive and computers are cheaper," said Ive, in Dezeen’s report of his speech at the Design Museum, London.


Design agencies show confidence

23 October 2014 - The UK design agency sector is enjoying a period of renewed strength, according to an annual survey of Design Business Association members. Half of agencies are aiming for business growth of 10% or more, whilst a further 20% are hoping for growth of 8-10%. Some 80% of agencies report that business is growing or solid compared with 73% last year, according to the DBA’s charge out rates and salary levels survey. Other positive indicators are growing staff levels and moderate wage inflation. “These figures demonstrate that after the lean years of the recession, business confidence is improving,” says Deborah Dawton, Chief Executive of the DBA.  


Priestmangoode takes the challenge of designing new tube trains

10 October 2014 - Paul Priestman spoke at our PD+I 2013 conference, revealing how the user experience is just as vital to designing for transportation as it is to product design. All the knowledge accrued by Priestmangoode in its design work for airliners will be needed for its new project working on the design of new tube trains on the London Undergound – where the expression from passengers about their experience is often one of anger. But the very public project offers an opportunity as well as a challenge.

Paul says: “Transport for London wanted the New Tube for London to celebrate the great history of transport design in London, whilst acting as a beacon of innovative 21st century public transport. We took inspiration from iconic London landmarks and key attributes of British design to create a tube that is beautiful, simple, functional and maintainable.” There is a video of the new tube train designs at Priestmangoode.


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