From a young age I’ve always been creative, making presents and selling products at local shops. I knew design was an area I wanted to have a career in, and after leaving school I saw my interest progress from graphic to product design. This led me to study Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University.
We learn everything from how to sketch to make sure our designs can be understood, to designing complex features such as undercuts in injection moulding. The variety and depth is brilliant! The course allows not only for creativity in designs, but also encourages designers to think about functionality in their final product. We learn about different manufacturing techniques and the importance of thinking designs through to the end.
One of my favourite projects during university has been in Industrial Design, where we developed a food cooker for specific users in the outdoors. First we needed to do research and create insights from our target market, before testing and experimenting using different technologies for outdoor cooking. As the project was also a branded task, we were asked to design in the style of BMWi, a series of sustainable and electric vehicles from BMW.
Whilst at university I decided to apply for placements to expand my experience. I was taken on as a ‘development designer’ by a company called Valley CPI Display, a design and manufacturing company in Leicester. The company was great and involved me in live briefs from the beginning, building on existing skills from university. One of the best parts of working for Valley CPI was working & interacting with clients in a fast paced surrounding. This was a fantastic learning experience and gave me skills I will definitely keep and continue to develop in my future career.
Working in industry also allowed me to interact with colleagues from all types of engineering and design backgrounds, creating valuable contacts for the future. I also built on many manufacturing techniques and skills, including further Computed Aided Design (CAD), engineering drawings and using different methods for creating low cost prototypes. I’ve also learnt about materials, heat bending, tolerances and further advanced injection moulding techniques and tooling design.
After my last year at university, I hope to build on my experiences and set up my own product design company as an entrepreneur to invent, manufacture and sell my own products. This would also be my dream job! You can take a look at some of my current designs and innovations on my website.
In addition to my placement in industry, I have also been a selected as a finalist in the QEPrize trophy design competition in 2015. From being selected, my confidence grew immensely and I now enter other design competitions as a result.
My trophy design ‘Genesis’ was inspired by the future of engineering. I felt that aesthetically this had to be of a futuristic, organic style, showing how engineering continues to grow; it’s not just a static field. By using different sized platonic shapes, I also wanted to show how people of all different fields can be engineers.
Since the competitions, I have absolutely loved being involved and engaged in all of the QEPrize events through their engineering ambassador programme; it has opened up my world to engineering and how diverse it can be. I am now proud to call myself an engineer, and I hope to inspire others out there also.
I believe creativity in engineering is a very important principle; it allows engineers to think of the impossible and try and solve it. I also think that creativity must be used with other principles and work together to gain the best solution.