‘Innovation of the Year’ winner leads Product Design & Innovation degree
Plymouth College of Art has appointed award-winning product designer Kevin Jenkins as Programme Leader on the college’s new Product Design & Innovation degree.
With over 20 years of commercial experience as an innovative interior and product designer, Kevin’s career has included creating ground-breaking ergonomic designs for office furniture; restoring and reproducing antique furniture; and designing and creating in-store concepts, fixtures and shop fits for clients all over the world - including some of the UK’s biggest retail brands such as Harrods, New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Virgin Atlantic, RBS, Ernest Jones, Burton and Clarks. He also runs Box and Pad Ltd, his own product design consultancy, and has managed design development projects for clients including BT, the National Trust and Haagen Dazs.
Kevin’s design recently won Innovation of the Year at the British Sign Awards 2016 for his Shimmerdisc sign, producing a ground-breaking new concept for the construction and production of sequin disc signage that has been taken up by globally recognised brands, including Coca Cola. Other awards include a FIRA Gold award for his ergonomic design for a “24 Hour” chair used in air traffic control and emergency service call centres.
Based at the centre of the college’s Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, Plymouth College of Art’s newly launched Product Design & Innovation programme is designed to equip students with the tools to challenge conventional thinking and help transform the future of product design. Kevin said, “To be involved in the creation of a new course is a very exciting and rare opportunity. I have observed many changes and growth at the college over the last few years and this is a very exciting time - both for the college and for me.”
Utilising cutting-edge facilities including FabLab Plymouth, the Product Design and Innovation programme combines physical and digital product design with an understanding of contemporary shifts in sustainable, ethical and open design principles, to train the designers of the future. The course also shows students how to take their product directly to market. From self-start-ups to crowdfunding, Plymouth College of Art encourage a creative approach that produces entrepreneurs and innovators, as seen in last year’s collaborative HackFest events. The college gives students the critical tools they need to join an industry that contributes over £70 billion per year to the British economy, and is vitally important across the world. Kevin continued, “I take the view that students coming here already see creativity as a big part of their lives, so what I can give them is a set of tools to develop ways of thinking about channelling that creativity, and developing the skills to problem solve and make balanced decisions in the direction their designs might take. I aim to show them things that newly graduated designers often take a year or more to find out in practice, so that they can be better placed for their first job as a graduate designer.”
With a creative background as a sculptor, printer and painter and a BA in Glass and Ceramics from Stourbridge College of Art, Kevin also has an MA in Furniture Design from Buckinghamshire Chiltern University College. With his industry experience at the core of the programme’s drive towards giving students a head start in the world of product design, Kevin’s first piece of advice is simple: “Always record everything you do. Photos, videos, a blog, portfolio and sketchbooks are your key to getting work, and remember to back up everything - both locally and online.”
With a limited number of places still available on the BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation degree for September 2017, applications can be made now through UCAS Extra - find out more here: http://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/ucas-extra/ or visit one of the college’s Open Days.