Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Been there - the New Designers fair

I guess it's about time I revise my trip to London over the last weekend. First of all the city is wonderful, absolutely the place to be - I wouldn't mind moving there in future. It was also great to visit it with friends. Although they refused to join me in my pettit museum tour, they were happy to spend hours and hours playing with toys in Hamley's (Barbie section was such a disappointment)

Well, but the highlight of the weekend (after Harry Potter :) ) was the New Designers fayre, which was the annual exhibition of the Design graduates from Great Britain. We went there on Saturday and spend the most the day looking at the stands of different product design courses. I invited my friend Oliwia who's a design layman to join me, therefore I could see how a person who's not involved in the design views this sort of exhibition. Our forth-years display was right at the front, so naturally we went there first. I wanted to show off to Oliwia what kind of stuff we do in IPD. Unfortunately when we moved on, we have realised that the other Uni's exhibitions were much more attractive and eye catching. Our stand was quite dry and boring. It was definitely lacking presentation boards and the display of the products on top of the glass, having a collage of things loosely related to the projects underneath, was not the clearest way of presenting.

A few stands that I enjoyed the most was Brunell, Bucks and Northumbria
When it comes to Brunell their products were really high standard in finish, branding and presenting. All students displayed under a logo 'MADE IN BRUNELL', which somehow made an impression of a good quality. When it comes to the content of their show, all of their products were very commercial as their briefs came straight from industry from firms like Cannon or Malboro. I reckon that is a completely different direction from where Dundee is trying to go. Our design process starts with identifying the 'real world's' problems, investigating it deeply and then finding a design solution. Hence our products were (or at least intended to be) more mindful and thought through.

Bucks had two displays: one of them was said to be more 'arty', another more commercial. I spoke to one of the exhibiting students and he said that the 'Bucks style' represents sort of things shown in Icon (I wish I could say that about Dundee...). The product design section was very consistent - the products were quite similar in stylistic (simple shapes, white and primary colours). The presentation was also kept the same for each product.

In general I was overwhelmed by the amount of the talented young people who leave design schools - it's must be super competitive in the industry, considering that only a selection of courses was presented at ND. For the next year, I reckon we must really focus on the presentation (branding, marketing). The ability to sell our products is also a very important skill to show off. However we must decide first if we are exhibiting as a group of individuals or a group (one company / IPD graduates)

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