What made you decide to become an industrial designer?
At a young age I was always very involved in the arts, both music and design. I remember building with Lego for hours on end and designing strange structures and contraptions out of cardboard boxes or junk lying around the house. It was actually my high school visual arts teacher that suggested I apply to Carleton University for the Architecture and Industrial Design programmes after seeing my work over the years. At this point I didn’t know a whole lot about industrial design, so I did some research and discovered that it was essentially product design, and that there was a wide spectrum of product categories that industrial designers are involved in.
This field of product design appealed to me much more than designing static buildings or installations, so I applied to the Carleton School of Industrial Design and was accepted. I also just recently applied to the Master of Design programme at Carleton and I was accepted, so I will be returning to Carleton in the fall for another two years. I knew this programme was going to be an exciting opportunity for me, to learn valuable skills and provide a great direction for my career.
In your opinion, what types of people are best suited for the profession of industrial design? What is a typical industrial designer like?
In my opinion, an industrial designer must first off be a creative and hardworking individual, with a passion for design and whatever specific field they are involved in. It is essential that they are able to focus on details and provide unique solutions to specific problems or needs. The types of people best suited for a career in industrial design are those who work well in teams, have excellent communication skills, and take a multidisciplinary approach to design, making them able to facilitate a discussion between a number of individuals from different professions. An industrial designer must understand the user and how they will interact with the products in various situations—ultimately the end user is the most important individual to consider when designing a product.
Where did you study industrial design and what was the most important thing you learned?
I studied and achieved my Bachelor’s degree at Carleton University’s School of Industrial Design, located in Ottawa, Canada. During my studies I acquired and developed a number of essential design skills such as how to properly and effectively conduct user research, conceptual sketching, graphic design, high fidelity model making, technical drawings, 3D printing and the ability to operate a number of machines in both wood and metal shops. I personally believe that one of the most important things I learned during my time at Carleton was how to effectively operate CAD and rendering programs like Solidworks, Rhino, and Keyshot. I frequently used these computer programs to create complex 3D models and realistic renderings of conceptual products, in various stages of development.
Tell us about the projects you are working on now.
For my 4th year thesis project I was a member of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) firefighting group, and I designed a lightweight and collapsible aluminium ramp used to assist in the loading and unloading of 450-pound fuel drums from Twin Otter aircrafts on remote airstrips. This collapsible ramp is used in conjunction with a winch and harness system, both of which were designed by other students, to safely and efficiently transport the fuel drums up and down the ramp without damaging the aircraft, the drums, or the ramp. During the initial stages of the project our group travelled to the OMNRF base in Thunder Bay where I conducted extensive research, documenting the current processes being used to handle fuel drums. Then I contacted a Twin Otter pilot who provided valuable information and user insights essential to the development of the final ramp design.
Since school has ended I have completed some freelance design projects for DNA Presents, an Ottawa based events company that owns and organizes Escapade Music Festival, a multi-day festival experience. I was asked to create a 3D rendering of Escapade’s VIP Section and used Solidworks to develop a general layout, complete with high tables, bars, couches, porta-potties, bottle service tents, and a massive main stage, which was to be used for promotional purposes. I also did some graphic design work for the festival, and designed a two dimensional Escapade Site Map, to be used for promotional purposes and by the festival attendees to find their way around the grounds.