Retail / Furniture Designer

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3D printing prototypes & this week's playlist - Weekly review 4

Week number 4. That's it then, one month down, many more to come. I've enjoyed writing these to be honest, it will be interesting to see how all these week in review's will read after a few more weeks / months have passed by. It's a great way for me to get my ideas out and summarise what I've been doing daily. As the weeks pass I've been spending less and less time on these. I know that sounds bad but actually it's a good thing for me. The first week I set out a plan, I wrote a draft, checked all the spellings and grammar, it was really too much. This is a quick summary exercise, nothing fancy.

Peerless

Week after our exhibition. There's actually nothing major been going on this week, asides from the fact everyone in the office is heads down with getting quotes out, drawing up plans and following leads. I've been involved in a lot more quoting recently, we're only a small team and when the sales crew get overrun then it falls on those who aren't as busy to help, after all every business needs the money coming in. I'm guessing this (doing things you don't get paid or want to do) is pretty commonplace in many startups / small business with 1-10 team members, but interestingly until I came to Peerless I had zero experience of actually quoting and selling products. It's a useful skill to gain, which is why even though I'm reluctant to get too involved, I'm glad I have gained and slightly bewildered they don't even mention at degree level. There's definitely a lot lot more I could learn about estimating but for now I seem to have the basics down. It's interesting actually, I saw this graph on twitter the other day retweeted by a few designers I follow, and it probably gets the whole design education, what you learn and what you need to learn thing, just about spot on. See below.

It's a broad spectrum of skills being a designer in todays world

Personal

This week I've been slacking a little when it comes to my own work. Some other commitments have got in the way, and doing two long days manning and then breaking down the exhibition stand meant I haven't spent a great deal of time on personal projects. I did however send off one of my display units from the slotted tube range for prototyping. It's essentially made from a 25 x 25mm bright mild steel tube, with overall dimensions of 600 x 1200mm so I've scaled it down to 1:6. I'm excited to see it in the flesh, this is a project I've been working on primarily in CAD and that really isn't something I like or am used to doing, as you can easily be mislead. It doesn't make much sense but essentially the research which forms the basis of creating this new system is a culmination of nearly 2 years now working in fixture design for retail. I've begun to understand the market and the manufacturing process, the do's and even the don'ts, it's now my time to release something I believe deserves to exist and can really benefit the market, which is hopefully what this system will offer. 

I use 3Dhubs to print my prototypes. I've thought about buying a 3D printer for myself but after contemplating how much it would cost in upkeep and material costs etc it doesn't outweigh the ease of sending a file, paying and then receiving a parcel in the post. I like dealing with people on 3Dhubs, as a general rule of thumb most people are really happy to advise and help as long as you're reasonable with lead times. It's good liaising with hub owners, you can learn a lot from them about materials and how to build better models, infact sometimes they are even the first set of eyes (asides from your own) to see your design, which means they offer quite good criticisms as well.

3D printed extrusion prototypes

I'm aware a lot of the work I've been putting in recently is computer based and my sketching skills feel like they're slipping a little so my aim in the next few weeks is to get them back up to scratch. Unlike riding a bike, if you don't keep sketching and marker rendering regularly it's not as easy as simply picking it back up and going again. At least for me it isn't. Sometimes you need the excitement of a good sketch or idea to realise you need to get back to it, so to tempt myself, I bought new graphic pens. If you're looking for a good set at a reasonable price and have amazon prime for free next day delivery, look no further.

One of my favourite motivational techniques, I find, is to follow others. Sounds weird but I'm pretty competitive, I don't like being outdone so by following industry professionals you get to set a benchmark. Now I am of course a long way off some of these seasoned creatives and directors, but you can learn a lot aspiring to be like your superiors. Reid Schlegel is one of many designers you can find posting work on various social media platforms. He's a senior Industrial Designer at Frog, who are an innovative design agency with offices in London, San Francisco, New York and Milan to name a few. His work particularly his sketching style is very distinctive, check out his instagram here.

This weeks playlist

This week I've been doing a lot more commuting than I usually would, meaning more time spent listening to new music. I will listen to pretty much anything, old to new, rock to dance. This week though, I stumbled across a gem of a playlist. For those who have spotify and are fans of the The XX or that slow, melodic style of music, can follow their Night & Day tour playlist here. Personal favourites include the two sampha tunes, and  'See her out (that's just life)' by Francis and the lights.

To recap these last four weeks then, it has been quite busy. At Peerless I've been involved in the exhibition and our printed fabric system was launched. On a personal note, new products are being developed and the website is nearing a point when I'm happy to fully launch to public and look into marketing strategies. My instagram was updated with photos of my favourites from the RDE 2017, you can check those out here. Don’t forget you can always join my monthly mailing list. Thanks for reading!