Experience as a Kinneir Dufort intern

06.05.16

When interviewing with the company, I felt excited yet anxious and was thrilled when they offered me a placement year position. Since then, I haven’t looked back.  I accepted the offer for an internship at Bristol based, award-winning Kinneir Dufort (KD) with ambition to make myself a more confident and knowledgeable designer, who would be ready to take on the challenge of working in the design sector upon graduation.

My tasks as a Junior Designer at KD have been varied due to the nature of the consultancy business. As such, being able to adapt to a range of requirements, to quickly learn and develop is vital to being successful. Throughout my placement I have gained experience across KD’s expertise areas in graphic, human factors, innovation and prototyping, but have been predominantly based as part of the industrial design (ID) team.

As a junior designer, my definitive role is to provide design assistance and general support to my colleagues within the company. My time at KD has been a hugely rewarding experience due to my highly talented and knowledgeable colleagues who have been incredibly supportive. It's been great to assist them, seeing how they work while trying to analyse what their unique skills are as individual designers. This year I have mainly worked with four of KD’s ID team – Ed, Gary, Andy and Joe. They are all incredibly efficient at creating quality design solutions with beautiful 3D styling and attention to detail with total brand sensitivity.  Their knowledge on more technical applications is something I lack and need to develop more in the next few months. Recently I have been extremely fortunate to be working alongside a senior industrial designer John Cowan Hughes. His sketches are fantastic, complemented with an aptitude for ‘blue sky’ thinking. His rapid ideation and effective presentation style is enviable and is what I can only aspire to achieve.

 

Another team member who has inspired me is an innovation consultant James Eelbeck. I have assisted him by collecting stimulus and creating presentations for innovation sessions. These are used mostly in client facing situations, where he conducts workshops to develop either new business ventures or product and service design ideas for companies. I found all of these projects so interesting as they delve much deeper into brands and they are much more focused on the overall experience the brand provides. This requires him to have an up to date broad range of knowledge on existing products, services and current trends.

When I first started at the company I found myself not contributing in group ideation sessions through fear my ideas were not 'good enough'. Since then, I have learnt that these types of ideas may not work, but might work synergistically with a creative idea from someone else. Regularly quoted within the workplace, 'No idea is a bad idea' especially in this situation and I need to stop getting in the way of my own creativity. It could be that later on in product development, I can help make the design or design process more logical.

 

The integrated capabilities are the core to Kinneir Dufort's success as a business, as there are few who can provide a similar service. I have been assigned to support in developing designs for a diabetes care device and assist in conducting a human factors study on negative pressure wound therapy in 3 geographical locations of the UK. I have helped to create brand platform books and innovation stimulus for world leading brands to consider the futures of their products. I have been in client facing situations. At times the job can be daunting, but that is because I have the privilege to work on projects for some of the world's largest brands.  A lot of business is from retained clients or through word-of-mouth by clients who pass on KD's name due to a proven track record for excellent design.

Because of all the experiences I have had this year, my passion for my career has soared and I couldn't be more enthusiastic to take on what comes next. The range of skills and experiences I have gained will be invaluable when returning to university in September, and furthermore when pursuing a future career. I have had the most fascinating experience working at Kinneir Dufort. As a passionate design student I have found it a truly exciting place to spend a year; I am so grateful for the support and opportunities Kinneir Dufort has offered me.