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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.