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Product Design + Innovation Conference 2014

PD+I 2014 will be an unmissable event, says Kevin McCullagh, director at Plan and chair of the conference for the past four years. “It is always an excellent platform for networking, and the 2014 conference will be no exception, allowing you to meet with old friends and update your contact book under one roof.” Kevin has helped put together another premium programme of speakers from brands and consultancies, including Grohe, Orange, Toyota, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and SeymourPowell.

Go to our PD+I 2014 conference pages and find out about speakers, how to register, and the latest conference news.

Rhona Greenhill - - speaker enquiries

Keri Hickmott - - delegate places

Levent Tounjer - - sponsorship


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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. Some nominations could be included in either the Digital, Graphic or Product categories. 
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 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. Read our feature article.

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Gadi Amit talks about wearables

27 March 2014

PD+I 2014 speaker Gadi Amit of NewDealDesign features in BloombergBusinessweek’s Design Issue 2014. There’s a video on the magazine’s site where Amit makes some general comments about industrial design, but more interesting are his views on wearable tech in the brief article. He mentions some of the challenges of designing the Fitbit wrist device, and expresses concern that Google Glass wearers may not communicate naturally with their eyes.

At our May conference, Amit will take part in a session on “UX: Bridging the physical-digital interface”, along with Jason Mesut at Plan and Jim Blyth at The Alloy. Amit wowed the crowd at PD+I 2012, showing the innovative and highly desirable Lytro camera which NewDeal designed. 

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PolyOne supports colour creativity

13 March 2014

PolyOne, gold sponsor at PD+I 2014, worked with designers at Gobie H2O to develop a thermoplastics elastomer (TPE) material for the coloured parts of Gobie’s new water bottle (pictured above). The GLS Versaflex TPE material and OnColor colourants used on the bottle’s patented FlexFlo squeeze grip, non-slip base and finger-loop are recyclable, dishwasher-safe, and FDA-compliant.

Ari Hoffman, chief operating officer and co-founder of Gobie H2O, said: “With several reusable water bottles already on the market, we turned to PolyOne for a high-performing material that would provide competitive advantages and differentiation.”

PolyOne, and its group companies GLS and ColorMatrix, last year launched InVisiO, a series of creative resources and technical support services focused on maximising the use and performance of colour in polymer materials. “Working across the entire design process, InVisiO provides market, technological and operational insight to inspire creative innovation,” says PolyOne.

InVisiO provides insights into emerging seasonal and market trends, and colour forecasts such as the Colour Inspiration 2014 brochure. Among InVisiO’s resources and services are: expertise in resin/colour selection and product harmonization; advice on decoding aesthetic norms and consumer preferences; innovative concepts in colour, visual and surface effects, form and material performance; product prototyping, 3D printing and trial support; colour portfolio management; and polymer material and processing expertise.

In a PD+I 2014 session on CMF: Materials Innovation, Marcel Dartee, global marketing director sustainable solutions & biomaterials at PolyOne, will take part in a discussion with Monica Dalla Riva, European Design Lab manager at 3M and Peter Booth, founder of Tin Horse.

Dartee also spoke at our Design Chain conference in Germany last year. In a joint presentation with Chris Lefteri, he discussed a solar power charger project with Xindao of the Netherlands. In the Sunshine Solar Charger, the plastic parts are made from PolyOne's ReSound polymers. This is a family of polymer blends, where durable polymers such as polycarbonate or ABS are blended with polymers derived from renewable sources, such as polylactic acid.

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PD+I will be of material benefit

7 March 2014

CMF: Materials Innovation is a session at PD+I 2014 which brings together industrial designers and materials experts to explore the ways in which companies can leverage the potential for product innovation through manufacturing processes and materials. Speakers are Monica Dalla Riva, European Design Lab manager at 3M; Peter Booth (pictured above), founder of Tin Horse; and Marcel Dartee, global marketing director sustainable solutions & biomaterials at PolyOne. Find out more about the conference sessions at PD+I 2014.

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Philips on top at iF awards

4 March 2014

Philips says it has emerged from the 2014 iF awards as the participant with the most accolades, 47 in the product category. At the award ceremony in Munich on February 28, it was announced that Philips had scooped an unprecedented four Gold awards for: Sonicare DiamondClean Black Edition toothbrush, Lifeline GoSafe HomeSafe Emergency Help Communicators, Metronomis LED range and DesignLine LED TV (pictured above).

Sean Carney, chief design officer at Philips, said: “Our focus on design excellence and creating value for people shines through in the record-breaking number of design awards received.” When Carney spoke at PD+I 2012, he acknowledged the challenge of maintaining the standing of design within a large corporation. PD+I 2014 returns to this theme in a session on “Making stuff happen (inside corporations)”, which will include Gavin Procter, director of design innovation at Philips Consumer Lifestyle. Find out more about the PD+I 2014 programme.

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Alloy and BT win gold at DBA Design Effectiveness Awards

24 February 2014

BT and its long-standing design partner Alloy have won gold in the Product category of the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2014 for the BT 6500 range of DECT phones.

Gus Desbarats, chair of Alloy, who has been a regular speaker at our PD+I conferences, will take part in a session at PD+I 2014 on design education, where he will represent the British Industrial Design Association as well as Alloy. Jim Blyth, managing director of Alloy, will also be at PD+I 2014, speaking in a panel session on the cross-disciplinary issues of UX design and industrial design.

The 6500 cordless range is BT’s fastest selling device of all time. Launched in January 2013, it quickly became the No 1 selling device in the market, outselling its competition by 79% in the first few months. It helped to increase BT’s overall market share to a two year high of 45.3%.

In its DBA awards submission, Alloy said a review in 2012 led to a strategy that would reduce costs and maximise customisation. A modular technology strategy was mirrored by Alloy’s modular design approach.

Alloy said: “A design identity system was developed to allow a flexible architecture of colour, finishes and materials to be applied around a set of cohesive product attributes. The attributes focus on experiential elements rather than decorative styling.”

The modular strategy resulted in the 6500 range costing 19% less than a comparative model for BT to procure. Yet its average selling price of £60 is two times more than the market average. 

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Making stuff happen at PD+I 2014

7 February 2014

We have announced the conference programme for PD+I 2014 and it’s every bit as eclectic and provocative as the first three events. An overarching theme is ‘Making stuff happen’, a typically cross-disciplinary platform for debate by PD+I speakers and delegates.

James Woudhuysen (pictured above), Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at De Montfort University, will be taking a look at the ethics of innovation, in a seminar entitled ‘Ethics: How to stop feeling guilty about stuff’. Alongside a panel of responders, James will be looking at the role of ethics in innovation, and challenging the perception that designers are culpable for frittering away precious resources, contributing to the paradox of choice and mindless consumerism – ‘stuffitis’ as it is sometimes dubbed.

Why not join the fertile minds at PD+I 2014? Find out more on our conference pages

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In The Making by Barber Osgerby

27 January 2013

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. 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. Read out feature article.

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Wearable tech may not wear well

22 January 2014

Wearable tech formed part of a session on designing for the Internet of Things at our PD+I 2013 conference. Jamian Cobbett, design lead at Nike Digital Sport, discussed the Nike Fuel Band, which has figured in the first group of wearable tech products that also includes Fitbit, Jawbone and Google Glass. Kevin McCullagh, director of Plan design strategy consultancy and chair of the PD+I events, has given his forthright opinion on Why Wearable Devices Will Never Be As Disruptive As Smartphones in an article for Fast Company’s website. “The biggest threat to the wearable nirvana is the smartphone,” he says, as it can easily serve the functions of dedicated devices for activity monitoring.

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Occupational standards are critical for UK profession, says BIDA

Gus Desbarats

7 January 2014

National Occupational Standards for industrial design have been approved by the UK government following extensive research and consultation by the British Industrial Design Association (BIDA) and Creative and Cultural Skills (CCS).

BIDA assigns a crucial role to National Occupational Standards, which are statements of the standards of performance individuals must achieve when carrying out functions in the workplace, together with specifications of the underpinning knowledge and understanding.

BIDA director Les Stokes, who led the project with BIDA chair Gus Desbarats, said: “This is of critical importance for our sector and creates the real possibility for industry driven educational standards, professional development and career progression, based on best current practice.”

Desbarats described the standards as “an essential platform for clearer recognition, meaningful accreditation, much needed professional development training and a better fit between modern jobs and education”.

BIDA is the key partner of our PD+I 2014 conference in May and at previous events Gus Desbarats has highlighted the need for British industrial design to achieve global best practice.

He said in BIDA’s announcement: “The term Industrial Design (ID) is well recognised globally and applied to the work of innovation leaders like Jonathan Ive at Apple or the consultancy IDEO, but in the UK, ID gets lost inside a design ‘big tent’ covering everything from gas turbines to high heels.

“We need to ‘refresh’ the UK’s usage of the term Industrial-Design to ensure we stay aligned with the international design community where the professional expectation of best practice associated with ID has evolved considerably in the last twenty years. This matters hugely to both the export prospects of UK ID consultancies and the career prospects of in-house designers.

“These National Occupational Standards for ID are an essential base point in helping us move forward as a distinct and vital part of the economy.”

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