Embody 3D had the great opportunity to talk to Jared Thompson founder of Design Juices, an exciting design blog which features articles, giveaways and lots more. Jared explains some of his thoughts into design writing and the state of the design industry. For more information please check out: http://www.designjuices.co.uk!
Article by Martin Gibson – @embody3d @martingibson – 26.10.2010
Hey Jared and welcome to Embody 3D. I have had the pleasure of going through your website Design Juices every week and finding new material to sink my teeth into whether it is about product design or just design in general. Could you tell me a little bit more about Design Juices and the inspiration for starting the website?
My online writing interests were ignited initially in the summer of 2009, I had often spent large periods of time online in research and in other pursuits. Whether it was putting together information to research a project or simply to read up on a designer or design movement, I began to bookmark and re-visit certain design sites. Design Juices was born out of a love for the writing and love of design, I wanted to share with people my experiences in design, to show people the inspirational work I was seeing in my surfing across the web.
Design Juices in its current form is filled with roundups, showcases, opinion pieces, giveaways and much more. I try to write around 3-4 articles a week on all manner of creativity topics, I’ve always used the idea that as long as it is creativity related then we will post about it. Having guest posters has also been a big part of the site’s success I think, this and the fact I try to be as open and as social as possible with readers and the wider Design Juices community of friends and design colleagues.
Has writing about design and engaging with other industrial designers from around the world through Design Juices expanded your knowledge on Industrial Design? What benefits have you seen from the website?
I try to learn and improve every single day, it’s why I’m subscribed to so many RSS feeds and follow so many design sites. We can all improve in one way or another and I’m still in the education stage of my design life, I want to improve and learn from the past in design in all areas. I have found industrial designers hard to find in some ways, I don’t think there is as many industrial designers who partake in social media in the ways in which I do. But interacting with any type of designer is always beneficial I’ve been lucky enough to connect with all manners of designers and business people from varying levels of the spectrum and at different points in their career. Each person has given me something to thing about or improve myself through working or the way in which I work.
You also contribute to Nenuno Creative, could you explain your role with them?
My role at Nenuno Creative came about when myself and the owner Dan Whiteside, struck up an online relationship having a mutual respect for each others sites. We would often exchange emails on all things creativity and design, and offer advice to one another on the little tricks of the trade within the online blog world. This relationship advanced when I was asked on board by Dan to become part of the Nenuno team, I was to become the third cog in the team and have a third share in running the site.
My daily role in Nenuno varies; I can often be found posting on the usual design topics to the tune of around 2-3 posts a week. On top of this I also try to help out in the admin of comment moderating and other small jobs, and then I also try to be as vocal as possible online in the promotion of articles and the site in general. I’m someone who actively pursues and visits the social bookmarking and social media sites in general, I spend time on the Facebook group and much more.
How important do you think the internet is to Industrial Design? Are you seeing online communities being formed? How are designers using the internet to their benefit?
Well I definitely think its one of the smaller communities within design which you can find online, although I’m always finding new and exciting industrial design websites all the time. Industrial designers as a rule I have found to be one of the more work heavy people, maybe we are all too busy working on CAD program into the late hours. But I do think industrial designers are across the web, you only have to look at all of the people who are on sites such as Coroflot and Behance, I love to browse these sites and be inspired by the student industrial design works.
Where did you study industrial design and how did you find the course. Do you feel the education you got was able to set you up into the workforce? What would you have liked to have learnt more of?
I first found the design bug during my high school years, I was lucky enough to be taught by a great design and technology department. It was soon apparent that I had a love for graphic and product design and this was helped by two amazing teachers which I can only thank for their hard work today. I then moved from college to complete my education at UCLAN in preston here in England, and to say it was a rocky ride over the three years would be an understatement.
I won’t go into the subtle details of the terrible time I felt I had there, but teacher turnover, department unrest and often terrible lack of direction from both lecturers and the university itself was a major factor in both my year and the year above so massively underachieving. It was a good time for which I was able to socialize and work with some other great students, but I couldn’t say that the teaching was of a good enough level to what I was promised and most of all expected. Our course lost out in being directed and advised into any sort of experience, which companies are all too often looking for at the moment, some of the areas in which I should be stronger in my design toolkit I’m not in comparison to other graduates due to the fallout of so many problems over the three years.
So you are currently a product design graduate, what are you spending most of your time doing these days?
Being a graduate in such a bad economic time it’s been hard work since finishing my degree, on a daily basis I can be found searching for job trying for new opportunities and working to improve my skill set. Having Design Juices has been a good place in which to spend time showcasing the work I have been doing, but also it helps to improve my skill set in working with programs such as WordPress. A usual working day will involve me writing or drafting article ideas for both nenuno and design juices, I will spent a good hour or two researching and searching the web about all things design. Email and apply for any new job or work opportunities and then work on my skills in CS4 with Photoshop and Indesign if I have the motivation to work a few extra hours.
Many of our readers are from Australia and finding industrial deign work here is pretty difficult, the design houses appear to be plateauing and are not taking on fulltime positions. I know some have even travelled to Europe in the hope of finding a dream job in designing furniture in Italy or designing Cars in Germany, France or England. How would you sum up the job market in England (or Europe) from your experiences?
I think the job market is much the same for designers across the world, especially those who are coming out of education. The big issue is if that university doesn’t give you the relevant help and direction in where you can go then students are often finding themselves left out on their own. Industrial/product designers are a much more specialised niche of design and need to build up their working experience before many employers are prepared to take them on in a job. This is something I wish I was given more direction in at university before leaving, I feel two or three steps behind so many candidates when it comes to jobs across the board.
Are there any famous designers or design movements that have inspired or influenced you when you design products?
My biggest design influences have got to be Dieter Rams and the movement within minimalism and more specifically the Bauhaus design School. His work and many others of that school I find to be some of the most functional and aesthetically pleasing work that I’ve seen in my short tenure as a designer. In the more modern-day I am often accused of being an over eager fan of Jonathan Ive’s work in changing Apple’s fortunes, I have a lot of time and respect for the design partnership of Seymour & Powell also.
What do you think is the most exciting area of product design in 2010? And also looking into the future? Are there any CAD or rendering programs that you use or favour? What do you think needs to be improved in Computer programs to better support Industrial Design?
Solidworks was the main program that I used during my university years, the only program I had any extensive use of previously was ProDesktop. I have however had short spells of time with other programs such as 3d Studio Max and Cinema 4d. But the main crux of my CAD work has been developed and worked in Solidworks. I think Solidworks is one of the easiest programs to work with and the support system of tutorials and the community of Solidworks users really makes for it to be a pleasurable experience in using it. My only crux like many people is that it isn’t Mac compatible and so I’m forced to be without it at the moment, as im a Macbook user. I hope to pickup and find some other CAD programs in the coming months, and master a few more CAD skills.
Now most importantly who do you go for in the English Premier League?
Well technically I don’t support anyone in the EPL at the moment, I’m a Leeds United fan once of high european fame. A recent fall of grace has meant we are no longer in the EPL but we are on our way back up, I live in an area of the North west England where there is no shortage of EPL clubs but my father brought me up as a Leeds United fan and I haven’t looked back since. Leeds has a tradition of having Australian players actually, we had the likes of Harry Kewell and others such as; Paul Okon, Patrick kisnorbo, Mark Viduka, Neil Kilkenny to name a few!
I used to love Leeds United back in the day!…well as you said mainly because Harry Kewell played, he was like Australia’s soccer hero so anyone he played for everyone went for. Well now we do the same for Tim Cahill! Haha I love Viduka he is like a big block of stone! Thanks Jared!