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The SIE Blog

Inspiration for the year ahead.

Michael is a Product Design Engineering graduate from the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art. He is the Director of Spark and Rocket Ltd and is currently the Designer in Residence at Glasgow School of Art.


Were you interested in design from a young age or did it develop?

I always loved making things and drawing as a child. That progressed into design as I grew older.


Why did you choose to study Product Design Engineering?

I always enjoyed art at school but I wanted to make and design real and functional products. Product Design Engineering has a brilliant balance between the creative and engineering aspects. You don’t just think about how it will work but how it will look and how users will interact with it.


How did your role as ‘Designer in Residence’ at GSA come about?

It is a role that the Product Design Engineering department offer to graduating students each year that are doing their own thing. I am very grateful for it as it allows me access to the workshop, some space and the experience and expertise of everyone at the GSA.


What inspires you to come up with a great product? Do you ever get creative block?

It can be anything. Mostly it starts by looking at a problem or area I am interested and passionate about. I will explore and research a problem in order to generate concepts and, through many iterations, a final product.

I’m sure every designer gets creative block. It is easy to get lost in a design and leaving it for a while and coming back with a fresh perspective helps. Talking to others can bring out the best in your design or a different angle you haven’t seen.


What advice would you give to students/grads who want to design full time?

I have found that design is a very useful skill to have and not one that many people have in business. Use this to your advantage.

Other skills such a business and marketing can be gained through various different business support organisations, competitions and mentors.

You can be isolated at times and I have found it very useful to build up a team of mentors and trusted people around me who bring different skills and who I can call on for help.


What’s next for you?

I will continue the process of commercialisation for my product, finding the right people to work with. I am also building up a portfolio of other ideas to expand and grow my business in the future. It’s very exciting!

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