Ravensbourne University London
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Course: BA (Hons) Product Design

Year of Graduation: 2017

I felt sixth form wasn’t right for me so I began looking for alternatives. That’s when I found out Ravensbourne offered a pre-foundation and foundation course which would give me qualifications equivalent to A levels. I decided to come in for an open day and was really impressed with the building and the atmosphere. It seemed like a perfect fit for me.

My classmate and I won the Art Science Prize while on the pre-foundation course. We received the award for our ‘Ink.Finity’ product which combines science and design to create a never-ending ink pen. Our prize was to go to Paris for a week to develop our concept with people from industry. It was a great experience I will never forget! It is always brought up during job interviews - I think it has really helped me develop into the designer I am today.

After completing my foundation in 3D design I decided to see what the product design degree at Ravensbourne had to offer. I felt confident that I wanted to go into product design as I met a few students already on the course and saw what they were up to. It seemed great!

My lecturers were always full of ideas and inspiration. Sam Johnson and Nadine Bennett were great support throughout my degree but especially in my third year. They really helped my projects come alive.

I exhibited at New Designers last year, which was a really good opportunity to network with people from the industry. I even got invited to two job interviews through New Designers. I was displaying my final major project, a swimming toy named Theo the Turtle! Theo the Turtle is a bath toy for young children who are struggling to find their confidence around water; it tackles anxiety and fear. The toy has a tube running from his shell to his mouth. The child is encouraged to blow through the hole on his shell creating bubbles from his mouth. It’s a fun way to get young children to put their face near the water and relax! Using Theo at bath time helps children build a bond with him, therefore feeling calmer around the water.

Currently, I’m working as a showroom designer and in-house fabric specialist at Made.com. My role is to maintain showroom standards, upkeep upholstery and assist with furniture deliveries.  I was also asked to be our in-house fabric specialist. This entails ordering fabric samples for the showroom, and giving customers detailed fabric-related knowledge on how to look after their products.

I would like to stay at Made.com and further my career there. It’s a great company. I think the most challenging part of the job is the amount of multitasking it entails. You might have to sort out a fabric order at the same time as answering a customer email. It can get stressful, but it’s a very enjoyable and rewarding place to work.

The fact my course gave me so much product and manufacturing knowledge beforehand has been a huge benefit. It gave me a massive head start when I first joined Made.com as I was fully aware of the processes our products go through. It was great that I could talk to customers in such detail so early on. Helping them understand the process their own sofa has gone through makes the experience a lot more personal for them.

If you’re studying at Ravensbourne currently or thinking of studying there, my advice is to enjoy it while you can; I miss it so much! Definitely use the prototyping lab to your advantage, as well as all the other resources you have available to make your work stand out. It will be a great advantage when you finish your degree. If you can build an amazing portfolio it will make you more ready to apply for jobs. Make the most of your time there; my five years went by so fast.

Bonnie Johnson

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