Bug’s world

imgID36389014.jpg-pwrt3Enterprising stuff from Brighton Product Design students Ben and Alec, plus Dan from Geology, aiming to generate food from bugs  . . . . http://www.theargus.co.uk/business/13625368.Bug_Boys_want_you_to_eat_beetles_for_breakfast/

Tim Katz


Many Brighton alumni will have been helped and supported by Dr. Tim Katz who has just retired. Tim’s enormous knowledge of design and education, and his passion for learning, have helped students and the course develop over the many years he has been at the University.  Best wishes Tim – still your round in Costas by the way.

Road Safety GB

road safety conferenceIMG_2162

Ex-undergraduate, and now PhD student, Maddy Conaghan and I talked at the National Road Safety Conference 2014 at the Grand Hotel in Brighton this afternoon. Great conference – lively and lots of atmosphere. Lots of interest in Maddy’s work around driver cognitive overload too.

Sustainable energy


It was great to see old friends in Romania again last week, attending the Conference for Sustainable Energy at the impressive new RESREC research building. Some great speakers too, around the bias of market systems away from renewables towards fossil fuels, the development of chemical dies for photosynthetic solar power, and the design of products using recycled mix polymers. Hopefully our talk on LCA work in low energy furniture was of interest too. We have two exchange places for some lucky students to go and study in beautiful Brasov for 1 semester. Richard.

New term


Well done to last years graduates, and its good to see Sam Young’s smart alarm ad Nik Hannay’s US football helmet getting so much press attention.  It also good to some great employment statistics coming through and to hear of the great jobs many of you are getting in to.

Over the summer, we’ve seen Cockcroft building transformed into a glass and steel edifice, more makerbots arriving, and new PhD students arriving including welcomes to Zainab, Bahar and our own Madeleine Connaghan. Their research projects will be looking at improving the design process, designing to reduce skin cancer and user experience design.

Now we are finally back into a new academic year and kicking off again with our process driven course format. More staff videos so lots of interesting times in the tv studio and working with the new Adobe CC software. Hopefully more blogs and updates to come . . .


Keyshot Tutorial Series

If there’s one thing the Brighton Product Lab does better than most it’s teach. When we’re really good at something there’s nothing we enjoy more than sharing it with others so you can look to build on your own expertise.

Ex-University of Brighton Product Design student James Coleman has had immense YouTube success with his Maxwell Render tutorials, over 60 tutorials with nearly 150,000 combined views.

Now we look to another CAD render package, Keyshot, and this time the skill of James Palmer. To date, James has produced a few Keyshot tutorials with aims to release a whole load more. Simple to follow and well guided through, the tutorials make light work of showing you how to improve you’re renders tenfold even just using some basic skills and a powerful software package in Keyshot.

Brighton Product Lab Keyshot Series: Introduction

View all of the videos on our Brighton Product Lab Video Blog or check them out on our Keyshot YouTube channel and wait in anticipation for more.

Design Museum Designs of the Year Announced

Winners of Designs of the Year Announced

The Design Museum, London,  has announced the seven category winners of the 2014 Designs of the Year competition. This annual prestigious event celebrates the best design talent and innovation from a unique range of fields and now that the winners of each category have been announced they will be judged against each other to decide which earns the outcome of Design of the Year.

someday the other museums will be showing this stuff designs of the year design museum

The seven winners were taken from the categories of Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic, Product and Transport design and included designs from a global audience. Here are the category winners (pictures) alongside the designs they were pitted against:



Façade For Paul Smith, Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London
Frac Centre – Les Turbulences, Orléans
Frac Nord-pas De Calais, Dunkerque
La Tallera Siqueiros, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Makoko Floating School, Nigeria
Mont De Marsan Mediatheque
Museo Jumex, Mexico City
Newhall Be, Harlow, Essex
Praça Das Artes Performing Arts Centre, São Paulo
St Moritz Church, Augsburg, Germany, Interior Renovation
The New Crematorium At The Woodland Cemetery, Stockholm




Hello Lamp Post
Lego Calendar
Metro Trains – Dumb Ways To Die
Oculus Rift
Public Lab Foldable Mini-spectrometer
Sidekick Creatives – Crowdfunding Great Art & Design
Touch Board: Interactivity Everywhere


Winner: PRADA S/S14

Christian Dior S/s13
Das Collection
Rick Owens S/s14 Show Presentation
The Hinterland Of Ronaldo Fraga
‘totemic’ Collection By Sadie Williams
Tracey Neuls Bike Geek



furniture PRO CHAIR FAMILY designs of the year

Bodleian Library Chair
New Interior For United Nations North Delegates’ Lounge (new York)
Ripple, An Ultra Light Timber Table
‘simple’ Exhibition At Projectb Gallery, Milan



graphics DRONE SHADOWS designs of the year

A Magazine Curated By Stephen Jones
Artdirectorsclub: Art Directors Annual 91
Building Stories
Castledown Primary School Type Family
Creation And Realisation Of The Visual Identity And The Signage System Of The Frac Provence-alpes-côte-d’azur
Escuyer Undergarment Brand Identity
M To M Of M/m (paris)
Serpentine Galleries Identity
The Gourmand – A Food And Culture Journal
Whitney Museum Identity
Works That Work, A Magazine Of Unexpected Creativity



75 Watt
Abc Syringe: A Behaviour Changing Syringe
Alba Collection Of Vases
Chair 4 Life
Clever Caps
Formlabs Form 1high-resolution Desktop 3d Printer
Gopro Hero 3+ Black
Luffa Lab
Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Pet Lamp
Plume Mudguard
Risk Centre
Silk Pavilion
String Lights
The Alchemist’s Dressing Table
The Bradley Timepiece


Winner: XL1 CAR

transport XL1 CAR designs of the year design museum

Obree Electric Bike
Ifmove Bicycle
Me.we: Forward-thinking Car
Single Seat Aircraft

Th category winners and the other 69 nominees are currently on show at the Design Museum in the Designs of the Year 2014 Exhibition and they will be viewable until 25 August this year. The overall winner of Design of the Year 2014 will be announced on 30 June.

For more information on the Designs of the Year Exhibition visit the Design Museum website HERE and for full details about all nominees and category winners click HERE

Pentagon Plastics: Design for injection moulding masterclass 2014

Pentagon Plastics visits 12th and 19th March 2014

All images are courtesy of Martyna Konopka and Chloe Fong.

pentagon plastics 1

Injection moulding is a fascinating technical area. It’s one we hear of constantly in the design world, and for most designers it’s the knee jerk response to the age old “how’s it made?” question when designing anything plastic (often without really thinking about if it really is the best way). But it’s only when you go and see a real injection moulding company, and get to talk to real experts that you find out how much goes into getting parts made this way.

On a hazy but sunny spring morning after a nice cruise through the Sussex countryside we were greeted by Gabby Day (Business Development Co-ordinator) and Paul Edwards (Managing Director) who whisked us up into their small but professional seminar room. Paul then spent a good 50 minutes giving us an overview of the business and a masterclass on his experiences in the injection moulding industry. The company is a proudly UK, family run business with 28 staff based in Horsham who specialise in production injection moulding of thermoplastics as well as the tool making for these moulds. This is a rarity, most companies tend to specialise in one or the other, not both. It has a real benefit for Pentagon, since they understand both sides of the coin, they can find the best ways to do production runs, and they can design tooling (and everything that goes with it) to fit these production needs. They take responsibility for key stages in the moulding process, they have good input into designs (and do some design work themselves), and they need to know their stuff inside out meaning that they need real expertise: and they’ve got it! What’s great about Pentagon is that they’re open minded, they’re happy to work with people to meet their needs, and they’re happy to open their doors and share their knowledge to disseminate best practice and ensure the best possible result for their customers, for themselves, and for the industry overall.

Design Assistance

The company do design assistance to ensure that products that leave their factory are based on designs that are suitable for moulding, are well made and meet the overall needs of the client in order to be commercially viable. For instance, if a part has a hole, clip or undercut, then this may require an expensive side action on the tool, where it might be possible to redesign the component to minimise these tooling costs, or to setup the tooling to maximise the effectiveness of each shot. Often Pentagon finds that part materials can be over specified, with impressive materials that include high UV resistance or talc or glass fillers or other properties, which are often experimental or in some cases not necessary for the job and would bump up the cost of the parts considerably. They can also advise on the possibility of tool wear, and the implications that this might have for the costs down the line for the customer. For instance, if the material being used is a particularly hard thermoplastic and lots of parts are required for production, then the tool might be best designed with multiple cavities (e.g. to make 8 or 16 parts for every shot), or the tool might need to be reworked at some point down the line, or the tool might be best designed to have an insert that can be replaced later on once the tool wear gets beyond a certain tolerance. That’s where the experience and knowledge of the team at Pentagon come into their own, they are able to advise in such situations and work with customers to arrive at the best, most cost effective solution for the job.

pentagon plastics 2

On the back of such experience, Pentagon have produced their own Design Tips specifically for injection moulded parts, and also a useful Troubleshooting Guide to help understand some of the pitfalls and problems that occur with this process. These complement the guides produced by materials producers like Dupont and BASF, by big technology companies like GE and by other injection moulding companies like Protomold. Pentagon have kindly allowed me to publish them on my blog, and below are links to these:

Tool Design

Pentagon typically offer two types of mould tool solutions for injection moulded parts.

Firstly, a basic mould tool which involves a straight pull action, where the tool simply opens and shuts and the part pops out (or is popped out by hand or with pins). These tools have no inserts and tend to be the simplest to setup but require the entire tool to be purchased.

Secondly, there’s the modular insert systems for relatively small parts, often with lots of detail. There are screw in or push in types, and this allows customers the option of buying either the whole tooling setup, or just the modular inserts for individual parts.

Pentagon have 9 impressive machines, with the ability to deliver shots of plastic ranging from 1/2g up to 500g in mass, in thermoplastics with melt ranges from 150degrees C (e.g. PP), up to 390degrees C (e.g. PEEK). The platens of these machines (what the mould tool is mounted to) can deliver loads from 22-280 tonnes of force, which is required to resist the pressure of the molten plastic as it’s inserted (remember that pressure = force/area, so the force required is injection pressure x the external surface area of the part!). These machines are mostly automated, but not always since parts can be removed by an operator when production numbers are low enough, and when there is a special requirement for this (e.g. when there is a side movement required or when a loose insert is to be placed in the tool).

pentagon plastics 3

On Tour

According to Paul as we walk around the factory, the UK market for tooling and tool design is bouyant, since the lead time is actually better for tooling made in the UK (between 3-5 weeks quicker), when compared with the far east, and since some UK companies have had bad experiences with far east manufacturers, and UK manufacturers like Pentagon are now gaining from the reputation they’ve acquired as experts who’ve fixed problems that have been generated elsewhere. The other caveat that many UK companies have discovered over the years is that often tooling purchased in the far east doesn’t include ownership of the tools themselves, which often comes as a shock when attempting to move the tooling to a new manufacturer. Pentagon on the other hand don’t own the tools they have on the shop floor. There are over 2000 products made by Pentagon, all with tooling to go with them, and as we walked around inspecting the wide range of tools they have stored, it’s clear how much experience is available right there on the shop floor.

We are very grateful to Paul and Gabby and all the other staff at Pentagon who kindly took out so much of their time to share their knowledge, expertise and facilities with us over the period of two days.

Pentagon have also written a post about our visits to their facilities. To read their article, click here.


Read the original article on the ProductDes blog HERE