'From screen stands to headphones, understanding the customer is key to great design' say UWE Bristol graduates

Issue date: 14 February 2012


Monitor Arm

UWE Bristol graduates, David Hayhurst and Gemma Beeching, have combined their expertise to form Product by Design, a company based in Bristol that specialises in putting the user at the heart of the product design process.

David Hayhurst graduated in Business Management and Gemma Beeching in Creative Product Design in 2011 and their company is already making an impact. Between them the two graduates are determined to improve the standard of product design.

“We specialise in refining products so that they are better suited to purpose, ensuring that every product that leaves our studio is efficient, effective, and satisfying, for the person who will use it,” said Gemma. “This was an important element highlighted in the Creative Product Design course at UWE Bristol. Our inspiration comes from international leaders in user-centred design like Apple and IDEO.”

The company's innovative take on headphones for outdoor enthusiasts and some novel packaging for an innovative baby bottle exemplify this rationale.

Gemma explains, “Our headphones combine robust and stylish features found in the excellent North Face outdoor clothing range. We went out with professional climbers and casual hill walkers to understand what the product was being put through, and designed a solution that was warm, waterproof, secure and safe. What's more, we found that people tend to use just one pair of headphones – so the design packs features like a no-tangle wire, that make the day to day commute that bit more enjoyable.

“An innovative design for the packaging for a baby bottle milk warmer emulates the old fashioned tetrapack used for packaging milk. The universally recognisable packaging gives the new technology a familiar edge, and helps to introduce mum's to a great new product, in a reassuring way.”

David explains their business rationale, “Consumers are at the heart of our operations and this is something that my course at UWE Bristol emphasised. Customer focus and refined design excellence is, we believe a winning combination.”

Gemma and David both cite their experience at UWE Bristol as being pivotal to the development of their company rationale. David says, “The course was particularly strong on strategic marketing and consumer psychology and these elements resonated with me when developing our business model.”

Gemma says the excellent teaching and valuable placement opportunities were highlights, “UWE Bristol has such good connections,” she said, “I've worked with industry names like Bosch and Herman Miller, and on a stand for computer screens, that won an international Red Dot Design award.”

Kurt Gauss, Programme Leader of the Creative Product Design and Product Design Technology courses said, “It's very gratifying to observe our students setting up on their own and becoming the entrepreneurs that contribute to the growth of our creative community in the South West.”

Product by Design is set up to challenge the priorities of new product development, harnessing the subtleties of a user's innermost needs and wants to create products that work seamlessly for them, every time. It's the dedication to excellence that has made companies such as Dyson and Apple such a success, and an approach that Product by Design are keen to share, to bring more companies into the spotlight.

-ENDS-

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