Posted on 06/06/2014

Two weeks ago, Dave Forrester and I attended PD+I 2014 (Product Design and Innovation 2014), which is one of the UK’s premier events for Industrial Design. Over the two day conference there was a plethora of interesting speakers and panel discussions; all of the speakers were experts in their field and the talks were motivating, intelligent and at times awe-inspiring.

One of the most charismatic and I dare say one of the most ‘famous’ speakers, Robert Brunner, kicked off the event. As Chief Designer of ‘Beats by Dr Dre’, Brunner had many fun anecdotes to share with the audience; a particular favourite of mine, was the ‘hip sandwich’ (his words, not mine), a picture of him sandwiched between Dr Dre and P. Diddy. Brunner is passionate about the role designer’s play in the success of products, which he excellently summarised in the phrase ‘technology enables and design establishes.’ His own fantastic ‘Beats by Dr Dre’ designs have been so successful, that the headphone market size has actually doubled. Brunner impressed upon the audience the importance of taking risks in design, ‘although innovation is risky, managing risk too carefully means you take the same path.’ I think that his statement applies not only to design, but to all areas of business and in life; it’s important to manage risk, but change and innovation is the only way to move forward and progress.

As a marketer, I was inspired and honoured to listen to Richard Seymour (Seymour Powell) and Sir John Hegarty (Bartle Bogle Hegarty), two of the most important and renowned figures in the advertising world. They were honest and openly shared their own successes (and failures) with the audience. Richard Seymour explained that powerful advertising can enter into your inner monologue, which in turn creates an ethos and strong feeling of connection with a brand. Sir John expanded upon this by saying that ‘emotion is a pre-logical reaction’, and great advertising plays upon emotion to make people ‘feel’ something for a brand. Both Seymour and Hegarty echoed many of Brunner’s philosophies and stressed the importance of taking risks and forward-thinking. They were frank in their admissions that risk-taking was not without its challenges, and both had the audience in fits of laughter when explaining their strategies to win over unconvinced clients, one of many strategies included bursting into tears.

Not only did we enjoy the conference, but we also enjoyed meeting the attendees on the Lightworks’ stand during the conference breaks. We spoke to many of the attendees about Lightworks Iray+, and we gained valuable insights into how they use visualisation for their everyday industrial design. It was particularly interesting to learn about the more unusual products that designers are now designing and visualising digitally, including aerials and cash machines.

Attending PD+I was a fantastic and interesting experience; it was a valuable two days for us, both at the exhibition and conference, and on a personal level I left feeling really motivated and inspired.

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