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Black and Blum

The Project Brief:

- How do you tap into new thinking and opportunities while taking care of business today?
- How do you ensure your brand remains fresh and relevant?
- How can you unlearn what you already know and work without preconceptions?

The Design Opportunity:

To create innovative new products that perfectly express the Black & Blum brand and have the potential to reach new markets.

Project Scope:

The brief was simple. Students were given a supply of wire and asked to design a product that people would buy and that clearly represented the Black & Blum brand.

Phase One - what we did and how we did it:

While seemingly simple, the brief presented our students with a number of challenges. Firstly, to create a brand building product they needed to fully understand what Black & Blum stands for.

Through briefings with Black & Blum, the students were able to create a clear picture of the key attributes associated with their brand, such as;

- Using material to add value to products
- A stripped down approach to product development
- Products with both purpose and personality
- Not taking itself too seriously

Without a specific market to design for, the students had to create their own start point. They did this by focusing their research on a specific friend, family member or even themselves. Next, they developed Day in the Life diaries of their ‘end-user’ so that they could explore how they engaged with products on a functional and emotional level. From this they developed story boards to illustrate ‘what is going on in their world’ and identify which products added most value to their lives and why and also what was missing.

Phase Two - what we did and how we did it:

Next they had to bring together all these strands together through their designs. To ensure they remained open to all possibilities and didn’t become too analytical too soon, the students took part in a ‘gun to the head’ creative drawing session.

This allowed them to generate multiple ideas which they edited in conjunction with Black & Blum. The selection process was guided by one simple question – ‘which one would you/your end-user’ buy?

Once the students had identified their top three products, they named them, developed maquettes and produced a final presentation. This mapped out what the finished product would look like, how it would be used, who it is aimed what it would cost, why it would become a ‘must have’ product and how it would build the Black & Blum brand.

The Result:

Black & Blum were more than happy with the end result. So much so they are currently working on another project with our students.

As ex-students of the Design for Industry course, we loved coming back to Northumbria to work on this project. The students did a great job and it was always exciting seeing the huge amount of creativity.

Dan Black, Black & Blum

Course info

UCAS Code W245

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years Full Time

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

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