100% Design

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So after a few months off (wedding planning etc), I’m now a married woman and my fiancé in these posts shall now be referred to as husband (Hurrah!). If anyone is interested, the day went fantastically well, couldn’t have asked for more, really. It went by far too quickly despite my best efforts to try to slow things down, talk to everyone, it just was not possible to make those moments, those few hours, last any longer than they did. It was incredible and I wish it could have lasted forever! Please someone design me a time machine!

So after the long break, my first design-related event was 100% Design in Kensington Olympia, London. I attended on one of the last days of the event and was really interested in hearing Juliet Kinsman and Will Francis talk on the subject of Social Media. As some of you may know, Juliet is the co-founder of Mr & Mrs Smith, a boutique hotels collection website, among many other things. Will Francis is former editor of MySpace and founder of Vandal Creative and Harkable, digital creative agency.

Social media is every where nowadays. If you’re not on it, you’re seen to be behind the times as most consumers are now online in some form or another. I haven’t been doing social media for my site for very long. It was only friends who suggested to me that I should try Instagram not that long ago. I’m not on Twitter or any other social media as I have enough difficulties trying to tear myself away from the ones I am on such as Facebook and Pinterest. So when this talk came up, I thought it was a great way to get some ideas on what I should be doing to help myself grow this website.

The talk was amazing as they shared the little things that helped them to develop their social media presence.

Will talked about being a generalist, meaning that you have to almost be everything for your brand, writer, editor, creative director etc. He also spoke about focus and doing less but doing it brilliantly. The main points I took from Juliet’s talk were about thinking about how other’s see you. Your visual style is important but also having a bright and easily recognisable logo is also important. They had some really interesting ideas that were obvious but I had never thought about them that way. It was great just to have someone say don’t forget about the obvious things.

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The second talk was about getting a product made. I’ve had a few ideas for different products over the years and I’ve yet to see them come to market. Without any background in design or manufacturing, it’s really daunting to even contemplate getting something made and  then sold. There were three speakers; Henry Hales of Sir Plus, Helen Kemp of Just Got Made, and Mark Elliott of Design Council Spark.

Henry came up with the idea of Sir Plus (a play on the word “surplus”) after designing boxer shorts and finding that no one wanted to buy them. During this process he realised that a lot of manufacturers have surplus material so he decided to use this material to create other clothing such as waist coats, coats and shirts. It was inspiring to hear how the brand came to be. He also had to leave shortly after his talk as he had to go and pack up his market stall on Portobello Road! Success doesn’t happen without hard work!

Helen Kemp is the founder of Just Got Made. She was a designer who was frustrated with the difficulties of finding a suitable manufacturer. So she decided to create an online resource for designers and manufacturers to come together. A few points that stuck with me were 1) Ask for help when you need it, and 2) Trust your gut. Again obvious points but sometimes you just need it spelled out.

Mark had also had some great tips. The Design Council helps inventors through mentoring. They also have a philanthropic fund to help support new designers. Some of his relevant points for me were that you don’t have to do everything, you can find experts who can help make the process easier. Another point was that you shouldn’t be daunted by not having done something before because there is someone out there who has and they will know things that you didn’t even know you didn’t know. And most importantly, Don’t Stop! Just do something to keep things going and don’t over think it. All very good tips.

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I had a little time to wander around and see some of the exhibitors. A few things here caught my eye….

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I thought this was a great idea to be able to walk around a home or a room you’ve designed. It’s probably been around for a while too…

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These products from Argentina have been made out of recycled leather. They take the leather and pulp it up and then turn them into new objects. Great idea!

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Such a cute idea for toilet rolls!

Flexible walls and furniture you can build yourself!

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I have seen these chairs before! And each time I want it more! (The pram is for scaling purposes only – Lol! BTW the pram is not mine!)