Nigel Goode, Designer and Director, PriestmanGoode

Following a degree in product design at London’s Central Saint Martins, Goode worked for a number of large industrial design companies before joining Paul Priestman in 1989 to found PriestmanGoode.

Goode leads a wide range of projects across product and aviation design and has worked on major projects with Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains, Swiss International Airlines, Qatar Airways, BAA, Marks & Spencer, United Airlines and Boots.

Goode was external examiner at Central Saint Martins, on the product design course. He frequently speaks at design and aviation events around the world. He is also a regular commentator on trends and future thinking in air travel, covering everything from economy class cabins on commercial flights to space travel.

You’re speaking at PD+I 2016, what made you decide to get involved?

While the majority of PriestmanGoode’s work today is in aviation and transport design, my background is as a product designer, and product design remains at the heart of our company. We still use the same approach, the same attention to detail, just on a much larger scale. As the leading conference in the field, PD+I is a good opportunity to work with our contemporaries and set the agenda for the future of product design and innovation.
What are you currently working on?

We’re working on a number of large aviation and transport projects including for United Airlines, Qatar Airways and World View Experience with which we’re working on a space capsule for commercial flights to the edge of space. Having worked in aviation for many years, it’s great to now be part of the pioneering space travel industry.
Why did you become a designer?

I was always interested in how to improve products, how to make them better and more intuitive for people to use and more efficient for companies to manufacture. I find industrial design particularly interesting because it’s the perfect union of form and function.

Being resourceful is intrinsic to being a good product designer. The industry has developed a lot since I started out three decades ago. Today, design is at the heart of a company’s ability to gain competitive advantage and at PriestmanGoode we’re constantly working to develop a broader public understanding of the industry, and the value that design can bring to business.

It’s also rewarding to know that our work helps make people’s journeys around the world easier and more comfortable. The majority of PriestmanGoode’s work is in aviation and transport design, and it’s great to know that millions of passengers are using our products every year.
Is there a designer or company you particularly admire and why?

Product and industrial design is a fairly new profession, but I particularly admire early British design pioneers such as Ernest Race and Ken Grange who challenged the norm in terms of both design and manufacturing.
Should you meet your heroes?

There’s often a glamorising of the design industry when actually, it’s mostly about a lot of hard work.

Our company, PriestmanGoode, is one of the sponsors for the RSA Student Design Awards, and we regularly do workshops with students as part of the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art & Design Saturday Club. I think it’s important to build closer links between design education and practice, and for students to better understand the realities and challenges of working as a designer today.
What product or design do you wish you’d worked on and why?

The Toio lamp designed in 1962 by  Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglione for Flos. It’s a very economical and playful design based on an assemblage of bought items including a car headlight.
What is the greatest challenge you face as a designer?

Working in transport and aviation design is particularly rewarding, as whatever you design has to last, in the case of public transport design we’re talking up to fifty years. So, future thinking is at the heart of what we do, but the speed at which technology changes can be challenging because technological advancements happen much quicker than you can implement in transport design. This means that whatever we design needs to be flexible, so that upgrades can be made without too much cost or inconvenience.
Can you describe your company in 10 words or less?

Our designs help our clients become market leaders.




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


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.”

Chris Lefteri looks towards PD+I


Chris Lefteri, chair of our PD+I 2015 conference, says he will build on the great work done by Kevin McCullagh and our event team in the first four years of PD+I. “PD+I has always had a high level of quality, with some really great speakers over the years, and I want to build on this, particularly at an international level,” said Lefteri, whose career has spanned industrial design, books, magazines, academia and materials consultancy. “At the end of the day, people are hungry for knowledge and want to learn, and PD+I is a great place in which to do this.” Read the press release. PD+I 2015 takes place at the America Square Conference Centre in London on 20-21 May.

Ive laments graduate skills gap


A complaint that regularly arises at our PD+I conferences is that product design graduates often lack the skills that employers are looking for. Jonathan Ive (above) at Apple has added his criticism that design schools are equipping students with CAD skills and little in the way of understanding physical products. “So many of the designers that we interview don’t know how to make stuff, because workshops in design schools are expensive and computers are cheaper,” said Ive, in Dezeen’s report of his speech at the Design Museum, London.