Constructing Constructs (2007-8)

Design Process used during the Constructing Construct project

Design Process used during the Constructing Constructs project

3rd year BA Design for Industry in DE0839 Industrial Design Work Placement 2 module

‘Constructing Constructs’ was conducted between Northumbria University and Hong-ik University (Korea) in collaboration with Motorola (UK and Korea Design Studios). This project explored themes of Constructing Luxury and Constructing Technology.

The initial contact between Northumbria University and Motorola’s design studio manager was established at an international conference, and followed up with further discussion to establish the Global Studio project scope, timing and possible organization of the project teams.

Map of collaborating parners on the Global Studio: Constructing Costructs project

At the start of the Constructing Constructs project, students were organised into 3 work teams at each of the universities. Each team was asked to complete a short design task with the aim of creating a team ‘identity’. At the end of this team-building exercise each group had agreed on their team name and produced a team logo. The newly-bonded project teams were then briefed by Motorola via teleconference on the two broad project themes which were ‘New Luxury: Constructing Luxury’ and ‘New Digital Lifestyle: Constructing Technology’. The next task was for the teams to develop their own design brief addressing one of the two themes, fine-tuning these through discussion with the industry partner.

After the design briefs were agreed teams undertook tasks such as brainstorming, mind mapping, market research and user research. One of the brainstorming sessions was conducted by Dr. Joe Faith, at that time Senior Lecturer in Computing at Northumbria University, provided students with another ways to reconceptualise some of their ideas.

Brainstorming Session conducted by Dr Joe Faith who is now product manager at Google in Mountain View

After each of these stages students uploaded their work to a secure shared online space, to enable review by their industry partners. Based on their research exercises they then started to develop initial concepts, which were presented to the industry partner for evaluation. Based on this feedback they further developed a specific concepts to illustrate their design solutions, and gave final presentations of their design proposals to the industry partner via posters, a movie and design process diaries.

As the industry partners for this project were physically located in another country, reviews were conducted by necessity at a distance. Online technologies such as Wiki pages and tele/videoconferencing were used to facilitate distributed communication between the student teams and their industry partners at Motorola in Korea, through seven virtual meetings during the project’s ten week timeline.




In this presentation Design for Industry students from the School of Design at Northumbria University who worked in three different teams in collaboration with students from Hong-ik University reflect on their involvement in the Constructing Construct project.

Thomas Oliver, Christopher Holden, Neil Smith, Philippe Cuthburtson, Mac Oothezien, and Nick Marks

After the presentation Laura Taylor, LTech Project Coordinator, commented that:

I have to say that I felt an overwhelming sense of pride more than anything else. I was very impressed at what the students have/are achieving and the idea of students presenting and therefore encouraging their peers is a very good one. The students presented well to their targeted audience and I believe that their “pitch” suited that audience very well. If I was a third year I’m sure that I would feel inspired by what others on the course were achieving..