Students work with industry to create accessible products

First-year Ravensbourne Product Design students at MIMA

Article by: David Millett

Publication date:

First-year BA (Hons) Product Design students at Ravensbourne have been collaborating with the design agency MIMA to create solutions to problems faced by people with unique or additional needs.


The students are working alongside industry to create individualised products to enable clients to perform everyday tasks that are otherwise challenging.

In previous years, student work from these projects has been nominated for awards like the Helen Hamlyn Awards – including a pen grip to help someone with extra fingers on their hand and a saucepan attachment that allows the contents to be stirred and strained one-handed.

Working with industry is integrated into the Ravensbourne offering from day one. In this first-year project, our students learn by doing and gain a direct insight into professional practice – as well as the opportunity to network with people in industry.

As part of the project, students visited MIMA’s studio in February to see their working environment and learn about the work done by the agency.

A few weeks later this March, Phil Nutley – Head of Experience Design at MIMA – visited Ravensbourne to give advice and support in a prototyping workshop. Once the students have a rough prototype, they can test out their ideas with their users and develop their idea based on any feedback or challenges.


Product Design students listen to a talk at MIMA

Nadine quote

MIMA said: “It was a fast-paced session with the pairs of students working to build a set of low-fi mock-ups to bring to life the problem space they were each trying to solve. The rapid hacks and early models helped create a really interesting dialogue between all of us.

“We collectively began to question  and challenge how we think about the individuals we are designing for, through our early prototypes and what might be the potential methods of manufacture.

“From a presentation point of view, we placed importance on how do we best capture the wider design process through photos, sketches and film.”

Ravensbourne’s BA (Hons) Product Design course leader, Nadine Bennet, added: "At Ravensbourne, our strategy for learning and teaching is to work alongside industry, ensuring what we teach is aligned to professional practice.

“This module, as with many on the Product Design course, is supported by industry professionals, who through their contribution, allow the students to make meaning of the theories and principles we are teaching them.”

group photo

Product Design students stand together for a group photo