Ewan Macpherson – MBE

Last week, our Commercial Director, Ewan, popped down the road to Buckingham Palace to pick up his MBE from HRH Princess Anne.

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From client to Managing Director

Back in 2012, the company I worked with hired 4c for a small design project. Up to that time, my working life had revolved around the research and development of new technologies; first as a PhD physicist, then as an analyst assessing emerging technologies and markets before taking on a business development role in a marine energy start-up.

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4c Design office

Desk spaces available at the Design Hub

4c Design officeThe Design Hub has 4 desks that have become available for creative/design related professionals who wish to be part of a fun, creative, studio/office/workshop environment.

The Design Hub holds a vibrant mix of small businesses ranging from Product Design, Naval Architecture, Musical Instrument Maker, Graphic Design, Prop Making to Electronics design.

The desk spaces available would be ideal for a web/graphics/marketing agency or freelancer.

For those who like to tinker we are equipped with a 1600sq/ft fully 'tooled up' workshop. This is what makes the space truly unique. In addition to a desk if you need space to design & build we can guarantee this is one of the best R&D workshops in Glasgow, probably the UK. Even if your business is mainly desk based, the workshop can be an excellent space to gather inspiration or fix your bike!

Broadband provided by a dedicated 20/20 Fibre Line that can be upgraded to 100Gbs (at additional cost) if you are require heavy bandwidth use.

Desks start from £250 plus VAT (£300) which includes rent, rates, service charges, electricity and wireless connection. Further services such as receptionist duties, use of a scanner/plotter and workshop are available and can be discussed.

“I have a small business designing, making and selling musical instruments and I've been happily working at the Design Hub for about 7 years. Before basing the business at the Design Hub I had worked from a few different types of business centres and independent buildings, so I'm probably quite well positioned to comment on the benefits of working somewhere like the Design Hub. For small businesses it's invaluable to have be able to 'pool' or share resources, and link into the expertise and social benefits that a bigger group of people can bring. Over and above the basic services like broadband, printing, tea, coffee etc, there are all kinds of things that's it's handy to have the use of once in while. I'd say rarely a day goes by when I don't borrow something from someone or lend someone something - we all lean on each other. The Design Hub is pretty much run as a co-operative of creative businesses - it's really a not-for-profit organisation which we manage transparently - and we keeps tabs of what people are putting in and taking out. It's a dynamic atmosphere which rubs off on you - it's brilliant to have a group of creative people around to bounce ideas off, get inspiration from, and go out for a drink with at the end of the month.”

Misha Somerville – MK Whistles

To find out more, please call Valerie on 0141 353 5490 or email info@4cdesign.co.uk.

 


Baby, it's cold inside

Curling - teamIn this record-breakingly warm December, the 4c team decided to seek out more seasonal temperatures for our pre-Christmas away day. Along with our Design Hub colleagues we headed to the Greenacres Curling Rink near Paisley. Much hilarity ensued as 17 novice curlers ventured out onto the ice for the first time. Remember how cool, calm and collected the gold medal-winning Scottish ladies looked at the Olympics? We didn’t look like that!

After a few introductory exercises with our expert instructor we got a game started and soon enough we were all sliding around with varying degrees of competence/enthusiasm/trepidation. After a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon we left with a great deal more respect for the ancient sport of curling – so much more difficult and skilful than it looks on the TV!

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Curling - Graham instructing

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Curling - Seonaid and Misha

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And of course, no day off for the Design Hubbers would be complete without a spot of competitive Lego building!

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Xmas 2015 Lego Build (36) - whole team (Small)

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Xmas 2015 Lego Build (11) (Small)

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So that’s it for 2015! A fun-filled year of improving lives with our award-winning S’up Spoon, helping Scottish Enterprise grant funded businesses design new products,  growing our team, celebrating our long-term client’s achievements and re-inventing our design office.

In the first few months of 2016 we’re looking forward to working on projects in marine renewable energy and aerospace as well as continuing our work in animal welfare. And as for the rest of 2016 – who knows? Perhaps you are the person in need of our crack team of creative, practical, ‘can do’ designers & engineers? If so, get in touch!

Merry Christmas & best wishes for 2016.

 


Graduate of the Year! Have you heard of the Glasgow Guarantee?

 

awardThis year it seems that awards are like buses: you win one and another comes along immediately. Mark Penver, one of our industrial designers, has just picked up his second award in a month. This time, he has been recognised by Glasgow City Council for his work on the S'up Spoon which set him apart from the other graduates part-funded by the Council's Glasgow Guarantee scheme.

This is exciting for us here at 4c as it is rare that we stop and take the time to celebrate our achievements. More than that, gaining recognition for our work on the S'up Spoon is a strong signal that our company ethos of 'innovating to improve lives' is at our core as we move into 2016.

However, instead of singing Mark's praises (again!) we'd like to shout about the Glasgow Guarantee scheme. It's relatively little known, even though it has benefited more than 6000 Glaswegians since it launched in 2009. The Glasgow Guarantee is a legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games which offers businesses support with the salary costs of young adults, the 50+ age group and Armed Forces veterans. It was expanded earlier this year with the result that it is now the biggest scheme of its kind in the UK (well done Glasgow!) and aims to help 1000 Glaswegians a year into employment.

Recruiting talented staff is difficult for any company and so we were delighted when the Glasgow Guarantee scheme helped us hold on to Mark who joined us as an intern in 2012. The scheme part-funded his graduate salary for a year and gave us the financial freedom to enable him to continue his work on the S'up Spoon pro bono project. Individuals can register for the scheme online and there is more information about how the scheme works for businesses on the Council website.


Mark wins 'Young Designer of the Year'!

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Congratulations to our industrial designer, Mark Penver, for winning ‘Young Designer of the Year’ at this year's Plastics Industry Awards. Mark has worked with us for over 2 years and he won the award for one of his very first projects, the S’up Spoon, a spoon for people with shaky hands. Although Mark says he didn’t get into this profession to win awards it’s always nice to get some recognition for good design!


How was it?

“The night was pretty relaxed and almost surreal. It’s not the kind of thing I normally do, and by that I mean wine and dine in a tux –you’d normally find me in a t-shirt, in a pub and drinking by the pint."

"The evening started with a champagne reception and a little introduction to the awards which have been running for 15 years. Then there was a stand up performance by QI’s beloved Alan Davies (I highly recommend seeing his stand up if you get the chance).”

“I had a great evening - not only did I win 'Young Designer of the Year' but the S'up Spoon was also a finalist, and got an honourable mention, in the 'Consumer Product of the Year' category. "

What did you take away?

“For me it was interesting to understand more about the plastics industry and what’s goes on behind the scenes. I obviously understand some of the manufacturing processes and even visited manufacturers and seen their process – however, I felt myself geeking out at some of the advancements made in this sector.”

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How do you feel to have won?

“I was a little taken back by winning. Winning an award is great because you get to introduce yourself and your company to others with the backed up value that you know what you’re doing. This normally leads to quite interesting conversations…”

So Mark, you've impressively won an award with your very first 4c Design project! What next? 

"I've already met a number of my career ambitions - including an announcement that will come next year... And there are lots of things coming from the team here at 4c that will be particularly exciting to share with the public over the next few months."


Intern antics - what does gardening have to do with product design?

IMG_9928_compressedSummer is over and at the Design Hub it's time to wave goodbye to Rob, our Summer 2015 intern. He's left us with a shiny new 'Innovation Garden' in our office (complete with grass!) and an exciting product concept for one of our clients that will soon be launched on Kickstarter. Thanks Rob!

So what is it like to be a 4c intern? Over to Rob to tell his story in his own words ...


 

Time is finally up on my 3 months internship, and what a fun 3 months it’s been.  From live projects, to office renovation, there’s never been a dull moment.

The vast majority of my time has been taken up with a client project/proposal that will hopefully soon hit the web and be launched on Kickstarter.  Unfortunately, at this time I am unable to give away too many details of the project.

I’ve learnt a great deal throughout the project, especially when it comes to client meetings and discussions.  It’s so easy to get engrossed in a project and forget that those around you don’t have the same train of thought as you do.  It’s often best to take a step back and put yourself in their shoes and walk through the development logically and concisely.

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Tasked with the challenge of renovating a section of the Design Hub office was a very fun little project.  Due to Marine Design International moving to a new studio, the end of the Design Hub office was left empty upon my arrival.  After a few ideas had been thrown around, myself and Tom Harris set to work on the build.

Understanding the character of 4c and the Design Hub was key to creating a new space.  I’d like to think the new space is a bit of ‘fresh air’, as it were, in the office and something that will be used frequently and in a variety of manners.

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Overall I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at 4c and will always greatly appreciate the opportunity given to me.  I look forward to the next stage and am excited to start the Industrial Design and Technology Masters course at Loughborough University.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone at 4c and the Design Hub for being extremely helpful and most importantly, a lot of fun!


Day 37 Queen's Baton Bearers on the Steps of the GSA

Passing on the Baton - 1 year since the Glasgow Games

Day 37 Queen

Do you remember Summer 2014? Summer 2015 has been disappointingly dreich but the last few days of sunshine have reminded us here at 4c of the glory days of last year. Remember sitting under a hot sun by Strathclyde Loch watching triathletes in battle? Or singing ourselves hoarse as ‘Flower of Scotland’ shook the rafters of the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome? So many great memories. But ‘legacy’ means more than just memories and we were recently asked by Scottish Enterprise to reflect on the long-term impact that the Games has had on our business.

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Unsurprisingly, designing the Queens Baton has made introducing 4c Design an easy task when at home. The Games touched everyone in Scotland and the Glasgow 2014 Queens Baton is instantly remembered. Since the Games we have received a lot more unsolicited enquiries. While it is hard to prove cause and effect there is no doubt that designing the Baton has raised our profile, particularly for the successful delivery of iconic and inspiring consumer products. In our main field of industrial design engineering the Baton has acted as a conversation starter and has already opened up opportunities for us in new areas. Designing the Baton was quite a different challenge to most of our industrial engineering projects. These tend to be longer term, often lasting several years rather than the few months we had to design and deliver the Baton. It just proves the versatility we have here in the 4c team!

Gold Coast Australia

Interestingly, we were recently tipped off about the tender for the Queens Baton for the XXI Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast Australia. Although we decided not to apply, we heard on the grapevine that the advice given to the design companies tendering was all about the Glasgow Baton, culminating with “Just do what they did!” So, rather fittingly, perhaps our real legacy from the 2014 Glasgow Games is the creative spirit and award-winning design ethos which we brought to our Baton and is now being passed on to design teams Down Under… that’s a legacy we can certainly be proud of.


4c championing new Intellectual Property initiative

IP100-Champion-logo

We were recently invited by our friends at Metis Partners to join their newly launched IP100 Club and are looking forward to meeting other members of the club at events in the coming months.Read more