Design plays a key role in influencing consumers’ relationships to their possessions, and so designers are in a position to propose powerful ways of rethinking the relationship through creative, making based approaches. (Evans & Keyte 2016)
As a designer, I am fascinated with the relationships we have with the products we use, why we cherish some objects whilst others are cast away, resigned to the bottom of a drawer or to landfill. My research interests focus on product longevity, in particular, methods we might employ as designers that might help to extend a product’s lifespan.
After gaining a first-class degree in Industrial Design and then completing an MA in Product Design at Sheffield Hallam I worked for several years within the Art and Design Research Centre. Here, I worked on many commercial projects for a broad range of clients but also had the opportunity to develop a practice-based approach to research working on a series of client-led projects which included diverse projects such as designing environments for people with profound disability and specialist surgical equipment.
More recently I have taken part in a practice-based research enquiry that explored the irreversible act of ‘breaking in’ to a sealed package. Breaking open a product’s packaging structures the user’s first experiences of owning the product, and reinforces perceptions of the product’s newness, perfection and desirability. This was an interdisciplinary project which I worked on with a jewellery and metalwork designer and also a packaging designer. Our collective research interest was to explore how the techniques employed in packaging design to amplify the sense of ownership ie breaking a seal or ripping off a perforated strip might be applied to a range of other products as a method to emphasise a sense of 'newness'. Our work was exhibited as part of the Design and Emotion conference 2016. As a designer and academic, I am also excited by how interdisciplinarity and co-design can transform design projects, this is something I hope to explore further in the near future.
Specialist areas of interest
The relationship people have with the products they use.
Product lifespan and longevity
Experiential Design / UX / product crossover