Ravensbourne University London
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Vishal Patel

Course: BA (Hons) Design Products

Year of Graduation: 2015

I had an interest in creating things ever since I was young and I always wanted to study a creative subject. Doing resistant materials at GCSE and product design at A level also helped me in making the decision to study design products  at university.  Another reason was because the course at Ravensbourne had 2 different design areas in the first year: product design and interaction design (UX/UI), which was something I wanted to go into as it’s more digital focused. It was another pathway I could have pursued.

The Penrose Festival was more like a challenge than a project. I worked with an interaction design student to create a product with a budget of £1. We decided to create customisable phone and tablet stands made from waste acrylic that we were able to get from the material shop and the prototyping room at Ravensbourne. We were put in a real-life situation of running a business, taking control of finance on everything that we did, creating and launching the brand “STAND UPS design” on social media, and also creating an online shop, all while focusing on the design aspect of creating a product within a budget. The whole project was like a small start-up business.  We were selected to have a stand at a craft event in the O2. There were only 5 spaces, and the organisers selected ours from all the projects presented to them!

My lecturers at Ravensbourne were supportive, encouraging and helpful throughout my course. They are very knowledgeable and have a lot of experience and contacts. My tutor, Nadine, had industry connections at Tesco and knew one of the managers was looking to hire. I applied and started working as a display co-ordinator (or visual merchandiser) one week after finishing at Ravensbourne.

I’m still at Tesco but now I’m working as a packaging assistant based at the head office in Welwyn Garden City and at the design agency in central London. My job involves creating packaging designs for new products that will be launched in Tesco stores. I have to manage everything from the design of the packaging, the photography style, right down to the print finish. I do this with external design agencies, photographers and graphic service providers.

There is no typical day, which is why I like working in a creative environment. It’s always different as I could be in the office for meetings, or at the design agency reviewing designs, or at a photoshoot art directing. When in the office it would typically be meetings all day or we have creative review where we present to the senior stakeholders who then give their feedback.  When I am at the design agency we make sure that we are working to the design intent and the brief.  When on a photo shoot we go through the concept and design intent, go through the photography brief so everyone knows how we need to shoot the product, and go through all the propping and styling required.

The biggest challenge is timing: the category team could come at short notice with a product and ask for packaging to be done asap or the print date could be brought forward. As it’s a big business these kind of things happen all the time and we have to manage everything along with hundreds of lines and priorities products that are lunching early which you didn’t know about.  Another challenge at times is the photo shoot and subsequent reshoots. We could have received incorrect samples from the supplier, samples could have arrived late or damaged, or it might be hard to get the same background or prop you shot with originally.

Make the most of everything available to you at Ravensbourne. Use all the knowledge, experience and expertise around you. It will help you with your projects and also develop your skill set for the future.

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