Posted by James Moynagh
James Moynagh
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on Friday, 26 October 2012 in Design

What I've learned about Design Experience.

Yesterday’s blog gave a small introduction into how I fell into Industrial Design and ultimately lead to me playing a part in this website. Two weeks ago I finally got to visit a mould company to see how moulds are made for the manufacture of glass bottles, I’ve been asking for 6 years since I started and finally they let us out. The plan was that we could go over to England for 3-4 days and spend a day in the carious companies we deal with but when it was finally decided that we could be let out we only got to visit one company and for one day only.

The whole experience got me thinking about work placement and summer jobs when we are in college, in that my attitude to both in college and work was similar which is something I regret. Let me explain, I remember when I decided I wanted to do Industrial Design in Sligo, the thing which I thought was great was the fact we got to go out on work placement, to me this was great and might lead me to getting a job. The problem was when I got to college my attitude changed. I’m the type of person who can be slow to change, but when I do I wonder why I didn’t do it first time even if I know it’s needed. I loved been in college and part of me in the 2nd year just didn’t want to leave, I hated the thought of moving back home for the summer and not seeing my flat mates (none who were designers) or my class mates. I was like that right from the start. So going on work placement meant moving home at Easter or maybe someplace new like Dublin or who knows where else. The thought of moving from my Sligo life 8 weeks before the summer ended was not nice so I decided to take the approach of I’m not going to bother looking for placement and just tell the lecturers I just can’t find any. Looking back it was a terrible mistake, if I could go back I’d go out of my way to get working in a proper Industrial Design firm in Dublin even if it as for free, actually I should have taken the opportunity to go abroad and experience a company in Europe or America like IDEO. That would have been class but unfortunately at the time I was not thinking right. So after the Easter holidays I arrived back in Sligo as I was the only one to not get placement, I thought I was great but by the end of the first day I was regretting things. Firstly I was the only one from my class there, but secondly the lecturers were smart enough to know they had to make me know I made the wrong mistake. I got the job of cleaning up all the rooms about the place for the first half of the day and the our head Lecturer Dave Roberts decided to land the killer blow, he gave me the maddest design project he could think off, assuring me there was more to come. I believe it was how to design a product to let smokers smoke in a room without the smoke effecting anyone. Needless to say within a few days I’d started to get sick of the way things were and by the weekend I’d decided I had to get work placement no matter where it was. Back in college the 2nd week and I spent the Monday ringing every architect’s in Cavan until I found one which would take me on for the 6 weeks.


When I came to work here I seemed to not to have learned my lesson but for different reasons, my mould design boss said early on I need to go out and see the mould companies and see what they do to make them, and sit with their mould designers to see how they design the 3-D models. To him it’s all well and good learning my theory but you need to experience things in real life. So every year Dave and myself put in the request even though secretly I half didn’t want to have to go because I hate the thought of going through airports and all that. Which brings me up to two weeks ago, Seamus (other mould designer who’s here not as long as me) and myself got to travel to OMCO UK based in Leeds. I don’t know why I wanted to put it off because even though it was only half a day sitting with the 3D designers and the rest of the day touring the factory I learned more than I ever imagined. Already it has led to me been able to model bottle features correctly which I didn’t know how to model before, note they use Pro E while we use Solidworks so they can’t just send me models showing how they are made. I had so much more I wanted to ask and by lunch time which came around to fast I knew I needed a few weeks on and off to learn the stuff and put into practice.


What I learned, we let me say this, for anyone out there in college or in school thinking off going to design school, if your serious about design take every opportunity you can to get out in the real world and see how the design world actually works. Even if this means going to work on work placement for free, do it, you will learn so much, yes the first few days you might just be making tea but make it clear you want to get stuck in. If you can afford it go abroad and work for a design firm, and if you have the chance spend your summers working in design, you can never learn enough and don’t want to be like me regretting not making the most of the opportunities I had before life got serious…lol


On a side note it looks like I may be going to visit one of the other mould companies in England next week, the mould shop manager in our English factory wants to get them audited (that’s the loophole used to let us across to see OMCO UK). And would like to have us sent over, so depends if my boss gives the go ahead, so here’s hoping, this time I’m hoping I get to go...but looks very nlikly at this stage.

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