James is a design leader who is passionate about improving people’s lives through design and technology. With a background in Computing and Electronics, Software Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design, James has 16+ years’ experience collaborating with and leading multi-disciplinary teams to design and ship challenging solutions from concept to manufacture. James is a champion of the user-centred design process, levering a passion for innovation and creativity to align product design with Brand and Business goals.
What is your approach to design?
Listen. Consider all the stakeholders, including those at the beginning and end of a product’s life. Prototype early and fast. Don’t be afraid to explore alternative product architectures, this can often lead to novel and elegant solutions. Look for opportunities to simplify. Use styling as a tool to communicate product semantics and enhance the user experience.
What are your three favourite designed products?
Pinion bicycle gearbox. Moving gear selection to within a fully sealed gearbox is a new paradigm in bicycle architecture, reliability, and maintenance. Particularly for mountain biking, shifting the centre of gravity to the middle of the bike, and reducing un-sprung mass has the potential to revolutionise rear suspension performance and bike handling when descending.
Duracell Durabeam torch by BIB Design consultants, circa 1982. I recall being fascinated by this flip-top torch when I was a child. Flipping open the top caused the torch to turn on and closing it turns it off. The articulating flip top contains the bulb allowing the light to be aimed as desired. I think this was my first experience of a product that questioned a conventional product architecture and re-envisioned it. This opened my eyes to the power that product design has, to impact on people’s lives through a simple, well considered object.
As a bit of a perfectionist, I find it extremely frustrating when products and systems don’t work effectively. Having tried many peelers over the years, there is always one I return to – the Rex vegetable Peeler. Designed in 1947 the design has hardly changed. Made from 6 components the simple formed parts are simple and unashamedly presented to the user to see exactly how it is made. It embodies elegance and simplicity and remains the best vegetable peeler I have used to date.
What interests you?
Action sports, the great outdoors, health and wellbeing, travel, good food, good design.
"Keep an eye on the bigger picture when buried in detail."