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Sam Rowe

BA Product Design Alum
Central Saint Martins
Person Type
Sam  Rowe


Sam is a graduate of the BA Product Design course. He graduated in June 2012 with a first class degree and is currently working as a Graphic Designer in a global retail-marketing agency in London.

He freelances in website and graphic design, and has a wide range of clients which he has accumulated over the past five years.

Tell us about your work.

The homeless vending machine was designed to create an accessible point for the homeless in order to vend one of three beneficial kits to improve life while they are sleeping rough.

How it works: A city commuter is presented with a stamp card along with their morning coffee encouraging them to connect with a charitable scheme, which results in the receipt of a donatable token and a free hot drink. The public then feel persuaded to make a token donation to the homeless, thus breaking social barriers as pressure to donate money is diminished.

The scheme would be promoted through charitable organisations that will ensure a rough sleeper has convenient access to ‘vendable aid kits’ providing warmth, comfort and freshness whilst sleeping rough on the streets.

The Nokia Airtouch 900 is Nokia’s first pair of wireless gesture operated headphones, designed to connect to NFC enabled devices.

The product allows the user to listen to music wirelessly from their device, featuring two gesture touch panels, one on either side of the headphones, enabling the user to truly interact with their tunes.

The headphones are designed to sit a little further back on the user’s head compared to traditional models, allowing the touch panels to be tilted forward at a comfortable angle, enticing the user to acquire a bonded relationship, creating a fresh music experience.

The Nokia Airtouch 900 creates a seamless music experience if you own an NFC enabled home music system. Simply place your headphones next to your home system and hear the music wirelessly switch between the two devices.

How did you hear about Central Saint Martins?

I first heard about Central Saint Martins through an old tutor of mine, he had graduated two years prior to me starting, and he had nothing but good things to say about the University and the Product Design course.

How would you describe your course?

Product Design at CSM is a lifestyle, if you want to absorb everything and be the best you can be, and get that first class degree then you need to be prepared to work all day, every day.

There are no typical days at CSM, especially on the BA Product Design course. You have a few lectures throughout the week, but the majority of your time spent is independently learning, which I found is the best way to learn! It’s all about what you want to do and how you fill your time.

I was travelling up and down the country having meetings with companies, buying vending machines and hosting design workshops with the homeless during my final year, something I never thought I would have been doing when I started. That’s the great thing about the course is you don’t know where your project will take you – just embrace it!

What sort of a person do you think you need to be to do well on your course?

To excel on the Product Design course you need to be an independent thinker, not take things too seriously, be entrepreneurial, be a good listener, be able to connect the dots in an interesting way, and think you can change things (even if you can't) and just have some fun with it all!

What do you love about Central Saint Martins?

CSM's great for working across disciplines, and working with people with different cultural backgrounds to yours, it's only when you get into the course you realise that everyone has different strengths and experiences that can help you grow as a designer. You won't get that experience from anywhere else in the country or on any other course.

Did you get any experience of working with industry?

I worked with a furniture designer (Tom Dixon) for a few months and ended up being flown out to Milan to work on the furniture fair, which as you can imagine was an amazing experience! I have had a couple of experiences exhibiting at various shows and galleries and the only advice I can offer is network, you never know who you're talking too!

What are you doing now?

After leaving Unilever in September 2013 I took five months out to travel the world venturing from North America across to Australasia then through Southern Asia. I have only recently returned and am now working for a global retail design agency in London as part of their in-house design team. Over the past few months I have taken on more of a graphic design position, but with my roots firmly grounded in Product Design having taken an understanding from working on the client side of design while at Unilever.

My long-term goal is to have a startup product/service company or consultancy, and of course have some fun while doing it.

How does the reality of studying here compare to your expectations?

The only expectations I had of Central Saint Martins were through the interviews I had read from some of the well-known alumni, and from what I had read I knew that CSM was the only place I wanted to go. As soon as I got the letter through saying I had been offered a place, I completely forgot about the other institutions I had applied for.

Like most things, it does have its faults, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

What advice would you give others?

Listen to everyone, take everything in, listen to your gut instinct, do something you enjoy and start saving for your third year from day one!

Visit Sam's website


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