Paul De’Ath, the newly appointed BA Product Design Course Leader spoke to us about how his background in product design, the importance of the user experience and what his new students can look forward to.
What inspired you to start working in product design?
I didn’t think ‘product’ when I started; I was just thinking about making beautiful vehicles. So when the question arose, “is a car a product?” I found myself expanding my interest into designing ‘user appeal’ as an objective across any manufacturing sector. It was the realisation that I could positively influence consumers’ behaviours that really inspired me.
Your work is often inspired by a focus on user experience and innovation, is this something you intend to encourage within the BA Product Design course?
Every designer I have worked with considers themselves an innovator. Which usually means they want to create the unexpected, society changing solutions. And whilst we are already strong on the development of students who produce highly innovative products and services, I’d like shift the emphasis towards a focus on the generation of innovative user experiences. Our graduates will increasingly become key people using design practice as a tool to revolutionise business, enterprise, and publics.
What kind of projects will the students be working on?
We will maintain a wide range of projects, many sponsored by enterprises from different sectors. As the design industry expands, our students will encounter a wider remit than ever before. So they need an ever broadening appreciation of the nuances of branding, design strategy, experience design, communication and manufacture. The course addresses all of these aspects.
Where do you see the future of Product Design heading?
Simply put, product design will become less constrained. Everyone with a need for a solution could be a designer. Technical advances in home-manufacture combined with increasing environmental pressures could change the role of the product designer from supporting global products to delivering local, context specific solutions, using a range of digital tools to create efficiencies in the demand and supply chain.
What part of this new role are you most looking forward to?
As I am new to education, I find I am in a new stage of discovery. I think that is what I am most looking forward to; discovering how my skills can be valuable to the growth of the students, the Programme and the University.