Pulling power: a zip that goes round curves

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The zip fastener is a product that is over 100 years old. Yet, in all that time no-one has come up with a design that allows zips to go round a curve. Wendy Howard and her partners Andy Honour and Ray Pitman think they have come up with the answer and are looking for manufacturers with the vision to take their innovation into production, writes David Eldridge. Read our feature on the design and development of ZipZag. Wendy Howard will be presenting at PD+I 2015, discussing How to Improve the Effectiveness of Studying Industrial Design.

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The winner’s post at DBA Design Effectiveness Awards

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British Industrial Designers Association (BIDA) is celebrating the success of two of its members, Alloy and LA Design, which both won gold at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2015. Alloy won for its work on the BT Hub 5, and LA Design won for a referee’s electronic paging system designed for its client Touchline Flags (pictured below). Alloy and BT’s entry also won the coveted Grand Prix “best of the best” at this year’s award, as well as the Sustainability Award.

BIDA said: “The brief for Hub 5 was driven by a wide ranging customer experience audit, highlighting several issues that could be resolved through a number of design interventions. However, a key challenge was to ensure the device would fit through a letterbox inside its’ postal packaging, to allow a smoother progression from service sign up to installation.

“The insight of using a postbox as a key driver of form factor enables BT to reduce costs, improve the initial customer experience, and significantly lower BT and their customers CO2 emissions. It was a hugely complex challenge that required effective collaboration numerous BT teams & Alloy to deliver a new service with demonstrably better product, packaging & technology to deliver a market leading service.”

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Airbnb’s new head of design questions ‘design culture’

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Airbnb, the current darling of the IPO world, has appointed Alex Schleifer (pictured above),previously with Say Media, as its head of design. In an interview at Wired, titled Why Airbnb’s New Head of Design Believes ‘Design-Led’ Companies Don’t Work, Schleiffer says: “In the last few years experience design has really been given a seat at the executive table. But the models that were inspired by industrial design and older companies just don’t apply.” Instead, he thinks designers should be de-emphasised at tech firms and the user viewpoint is made paramount in the organisation. Interesting to compare his remarks with the views of Robert Brunner, our keynote speaker at PD+I 2014, who told industrial designers: “This is your time.”