Colin O'Dowd

Colin O’Dowd, Stix, 2013

Colin O’Dowd, graduate of 2013, talks about getting his work into production.

Colin is a recent graduate of the BA Product Design Course. He is currently working on a project with LEGO. 

Please describe a project you worked on during your course

Stix, was my self-initiated project that was based on my hypothesis. Which was about the fact more and more fathers are the primary carers for their children as many become ‘Stay at Home Dads’.

Stix is a toy designed to encourage and cement a Fathers newfound role as a more caring and sensitive figure. Each Stix pack contains a selection of accessories that you can make a toy from but only after you find a stick to complete the set. Stix is a craft and educational toy that encourages the parent and child to play together. 


They are designed to inspire, awaken the imagination and are an antidote to today’s over stimulated, computerised society.

How would you describe your course?

As a mature student living in London, CSM was always the college that was mentioned in conversations as a creative hub, with a strong tradition and history, and the benefits of the alumni students. The route was pretty straight forward apply > interview > a place in!

How would you describe your course?

The quickest three years of my life.

What is a typical day like?

I always made sure I was in university at least four days a week as, you just got more done in university. I was experimenting in the workshop making: 3D sketching, model making and so on . Where my best ideas where formed and developed.

Did you gain any experience of exhibiting or working in industry?

I have exhibited in Milan and China. In Milan, I have designed a spirit bottle and won the competition. In China, I was part of an up-cycling project. Both projects allowed me to work with different universities and cultures, hence I gained valuable experience on how various cultures work and how each individual interprets the exact same brief in different ways.

How have you found the support whilst you studied here?

The support was amazing, especially during the start of third year when, I was having quite a difficult time, trying to get my self-initiated project off the ground.

Why did you chose this particular course over others?

It felt like a ‘natural’ course; product design has the right amount of everything in it for me. It is quite diverse and broad.

What you love about CSM and why you’d recommend it?

The fact that you are surrounded by all these amazingly creative people from different backgrounds such as, art, jewellery, photography and graphics from all sorts of paths in the art and design world. It is difficult not to be inspired.

What you (and others) hope to go on to do?

Most people, at the moment, are working in different studios, from branding to creating art led pieces. Currently, I am working on a project with LEGO.

What advice would you pass on?

Getting a job is 90% about your portfolio, so the first and second year projects are just as important as the third year ones.  Numerous students make the mistake of believing that the project in the first two years do not count. As a result, their portfolio is limited. Therefore, make sure you hit the ground running. Additionally, experiment and go beyond the boundaries. As you will never, most probably, get a chance to be as creative again.

What have your highlights been?

I think one of the best parts about CSM is, that 80% of the time you work with real clients on ‘live’ projects. This allows you to gain great experience of how things work in the real world. Obviously, getting Stix into production was the icing on the cake.