A fresh face

We received over 150 applications for our ever popular graduate internship scheme, and are excited to announce that after a lot of consideration, we’ve selected Heather Guyan. We have no doubt, Heather will be a great addition to the team at 4c Design over the next few months.

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Hello I'm Heather!

Graduating from Strathclyde University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Product Design and Innovation in 2015, I started my career in the personal protection industry. Working as a ‘Product Design and Support Engineer’ for a company located in Milton Keynes. This role gave me invaluable experience and skills, focusing on product development and working as a test houses liaison to ensure all products produced met the British quality standards and regulations. However, as beneficial as this position was in starting my career, it soon became apparent there was very little design freedom due to the industry culture and restrictions.

After this realisation I decided to pursue my own entrepreneurial ambitions. Entering competitions such as the SIE ‘I’m an Innovator’ competition (placing highly commended) and the ‘Converge Challenge – Social Enterprise category’ where I am currently a finalist waiting on the results to be released at the Converge Challenge 2016 Awards Ceremony. Competitions such as this provide a large platform to gain feedback and assist in evaluating my business’s potential along with cash prizes, advice and support.

However being so young in my career, I realise there is still a lot to learn before taking the plunge of starting my own company and 4c has offered me the chance to move into a more creative environment. To me this is the golden opportunity, allowing me to return back to Glasgow, develop new and existing skills, all the while gaining support and advice on my own endeavors and progressing my portfolio. The consultancy nature, with such a broad range of clients and projects 4c undertake; ranging from design and market research, to prototyping and following through to assisting in the development and delivery of a exciting new project, are just a few of the many factors that drew me to 4c.

The team here have been so welcoming and I am very much looking forward to everything 4c has in store for me.


Open Day 2016

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Once again we're opening our doors to the world to see what design and engineering is all about.

Currently ourselves and the rest of the design hub are still planning the fine details but please 'save the date' as we intend to start the event from 3pm to introduce ourselves, our process and talk in general about design and engineering.

 

 

 

 

 


5 Years of designing for Tannoy

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We have all heard a ‘message over the Tannoy’. The word 'Tannoy' is the most popular way to describe a public address system at an open-air event or a train station. But of course Tannoy is the famous Scottish-based loudspeaker Brand from where the well-known phrase ‘over the Tannoy’ is derived. Next year Tannoy will be celebrating 90 years of manufacturing some of the highest quality professional and residential speakers in the world.

4c Design have been working with Tannoy for the last 5 years (view case study). We help them visualise their up and coming products and future ranges of speakers. Over the last 5 years we have worked on over 20 designs, so it feels timely to look back and reflect on our experiences of working with one of the most innovative and pioneering brands in audio.

kingdomWe were first introduced to Tannoy when they needed industrial design assistance for an important relaunch of their Kingdom Royal speaker back in 2009. This particular speaker had been the flagship unit of their range for over 15 years, so it was a very important brief and one which required us to fully immerse ourselves into the company's history and ethos. At the same time, we needed to listen to Tannoy's Far Eastern fan base, who had strong opinions on the design and philosophy of the product.

The Kingdom Royal was a particularly exciting concept, because it was aimed at the high end of the market, where more time and money is spent on the design and manufacturing processes to ensure the results are right. We've been particularly impressed by the care that Tannoy put into their manufacturing: it's their attention to even the tiniest detail that catches our eye and makes their speakers stand out above the crowd. A review of the final product can be seen here.

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue64/tannoy_royal.htm

Shortly after our introduction to Tannoy and our work on the Kingdom Royal, we were asked to look at redesigns for many of Tannoy's other products in the professional and residential ranges. We've loved working for Tannoy over the years as they are developing products that are both supremely functional - producing some of the highest quality audio available - and truly aesthetic. It is no coincidence that many of our team now own Tannoy speakers!

Tannoy Reveal - Studio Monitors

Working with Tannoy over the last 5 years to bring more and more of their products to market has been a fantastic experience. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that Tannoy believe in collaborative input from all departments of their company. Meetings at their headquarters usually consist of briefings or concept reviews with representatives from several departments including engineering, sales, management and marketing, so that new concepts can be assessed from the different perspectives of all those involved in their development and sale. A truly refreshing and particularly efficient process. By working on concepts collaboratively we feel that Tannoy have created both a great working environment and a development process that results in much better, well considered products.

4c Design's contribution to Tannoy over the years has been much appreciated by the company and is described in this short video by their director of operations and passionate audiophile Jim Stewart:

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Tannoy has made a huge impact on the music industry over the last 9 decades: from the PA systems it built for Butlins' holiday camps to the thousands of high end speakers that the company now exports from Scotland to the Far East. It is with a great deal of pride that 4c Design can say that we are part of the Tannoy team.

In the build up to Tannoy's 90th birthday 4c Design has been asked to develop a range of products to celebrate this momentous achievement. We hope to be able to reveal more about this soon... so 'watch this space', or should we say instead, 'listen out for another announcement!'


S'up Spoon

S'up Spoon - A Design Journey

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Over the past year and a half we've worked on a great project with a guy called Grant. Grant has Ataxic and Athetoid Cerebral Palsy which makes his hands shake and means that it is almost impossible for him to eat with normal cutlery. We've worked with Grant to design a spoon that enables him to eat without spilling food. After a few months of working on the project we realised that the new spoon wouldn't just help Grant and others with cerebral palsy. It would also improve the lives of those with Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and perhaps others, such as some elderly people who have similar, although less severe problems. We've worked hard to get the S'up Spoon available and are proud that it is now on sale and can be purchased here.

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The S'up Spoon was developed by 4c Design as a pro bono project, through our annual internship programme. Industrial designer, Mark Penver, has worked on the project from its inception to product launch. This is his story...

A little over a year and a half ago, before I became a full time employee, I joined 4c Design as an Intern. Since then, I’ve worked on many weird and wonderful projects, but one of the more interesting projects has been designing a spoon for people with shaky hands.

Each year, when 4c Design take on an intern, they work on a project for someone who needs something but doesn't have the funds to make it a reality. My challenge began when I met Grant.

Every great design needs a great problem: Grant’s problem was his struggle with adaptive cutlery for his Cerebral Palsy.

I quickly learnt that Grant is a really switched on guy, holding down multiple jobs and constantly filled with ideas. His solution for his own problem was a spoon with a mechanical lid. This would hold contents such as soup whilst he makes the transition from bowl to mouth (which is the most complicated part of eating for those with shaky hands).

Grant had an extra challenge for us: he wanted to eat cornflakes again. He hadn't been able to do this since he started living on his own.

After capturing photos and video of how Grant both cooks and eats certain foods, it was clear there was a big problem. We went away to analyse how we could help contain food in a spoon and make a one-off product just for Grant.

We had three main goals: function, durability and aesthetics. Our brainstorming session came up with solutions one might expect to find in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. We then took these ideas from the whiteboard to rough prototypes.

Although a lid was the most obvious solution to containing food within the spoon we felt that it was not a durable solution. The more parts you put into a product like this, the greater the risk of it breaking and becoming awkward to clean. While testing our prototypes we discovered that manipulating grip mechanisms or thumb actuated levers requires skill and precise movement - they didn't work for Grant. Therefore we settled for a solution that solved the problem with form alone.

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This idea was then iterated heavily and we produced another round of prototypes using our in-house 3D printer. This allowed us to print spoon heads of varying proportions and we added hand-crafted foam handles. As a result, we were able to give Grant Christmas presents of his favourite prototypes and he gave us the following amazing feedback:

I successfully used them to eat Chinese with at least two portions of rice as well as a banana fritter and ice cream totally independently, and with very little spillage - this is a major breakthrough as eating rice in a restaurant would just be unthinkable before... I had 3/4 of a plate of soup with minimal spillage.

The prototypes were working so well for Grant that we decided to try and make them available to everyone. We used crowdfunding to generate support and successfully raised enough funding to manufacture the spoon. Thanks to very generous donations the spoon has become much more than a one-off prototype for Grant. It has become a new company selling an exciting product, led by Grant and supported by 4c Design as well as Grant's friends and family.

S'up Products* launched the S'up Spoon this week at NAIDEX** in Birmingham. One of our fans travelled all the way from London to Birmingham just to meet us and buy a spoon! We've had fantastic feedback from the people attending the show:

"THIS IS PERFECT!"

"CAN I BUY ONE?"

For me, it has been amazing to be involved in this project, in particular, seeing how good design of a simple product can make such a difference to a person's life. It has been great to see how the S'up Spoon has improved Grant's eating experiences and to hear from him how it has also helped his friends. I'm also pleased to be able to say that Grant now produces less spillage than myself when eating soup!

Buy the S'up Spoon here!

A case study is available on our website here.

*S’up Products is the name of the new company 4c Design have set up with Grant to handle the sales and distribution of the spoon and potentially other products in the future.

**NAIDEX is the country’s largest trade show for disability based products.

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School Work Experience

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At the Design Hub we actively support the idea of young adults entering the Design Hub for work experience covering a week. The Design Hub has an exciting, innovative and progressive environment. To be honest probably not the “usual workplace” the majority of youngsters will find in their working lifetime.

If we take in a school pupil for a week’s work experience, we are aware this will result in a designer giving 5 days unpaid work to encourage, motivate and generally look after. Happy to do this.  

What is really frustrating is the numerous pages of red tape which requires to be completed on behalf of the school to allow a pupil to set foot in the design office – the workshop is totally out of bounds. Then there are further pages of questions from our insurance company regarding Public & Employers Liability Insurance, Health & Safety and Risk Assessment to be completed.   This can take hours of administrative emails and confirmation documentation before all parties covered.

Due to this administrative paperwork it is with heavy heart we have taken the decision to discontinue school work experience weeks. I don’t want to revert back to the good old days when children were used to clean chimneys or their small fingers were ideal for getting into the mechanics of large industrial machines. I do think there should be a compromise and we have gone too far in the other direction. What happened to common sense.

Where do you think a pupil interested in design engineering would rather be – behind a desk or in the workshop supervised by skilled and trained engineers carrying out practical projects?

Would be interested in your comments on this.


Three amazing job opportunities

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Following our successful 2014, we're on the lookout for a key member to join our team and give 2 great opportunities to those in or just leaving education. Here at 4c Design these team players will get involved in all our new and upcoming client collaborations and develop their skills.

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Experienced product design engineer

We're looking for the 'right stuff'. An engineer who's creative and has a wide set of skills covering CAD, mechanics, understanding of manufacturing processes and someone who can bring something new to the team. We feel that to get what we want this person must have 4 or more years experience.

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Graduate (or soon to be) product design engineer intern

Every year we take on a graduate intern where for 3 months we help that intern develop their professional portfolio and skill set. It's an amazing opportunity for someone just starting their career to get introduced to working for 'real' clients and briefs in a creative atmosphere outside of the university.

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Workshop technician apprentice

Wonderful creations have left our doors and  this comes down to not just our team but a workshop we're proud of. Our model maker and workshop manager, Tom is sometimes snowed under and because of this we're looking for an apprentice to work in our 2000sqft workshop. Here they'll learn how to use large machinery and finer skills. For insurance purposes over 18's only.

 

For more information on all of these opportunities please visit our careers page.

www.4cdesign.co.uk/about-us/careers/


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