Celebrating 10 years of supporting emerging designers, Launch Pad 2014 continues its legacy of imparting valuable feedback and mentoring the next generation. Words by Sophia Watson
September 8th, 2014
The value of feedback, particularly for developing designers is crucial. The collective knowledge base imparted from high-profile industry members is essential to the development of Australia’s emerging talent. Not only in terms of design resolution, but marketing, manufacture and supply know-how. But when do you find the opportunity to engage with and learn from the more experienced members of the industry?
For those unfamiliar with Launch Pad, it is, in essence, a program for emerging designers, local and international alike, to explore and cultivate authentic designs from prototype to production, with the support of established designers, and the Australian design community at large. And this year, we are celebrating its 10th birthday.
Above: Runner Up: O.P – Simone Steel and William Campbell
One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Launch Pad program is dialogue. Where traditionally, judges once reviewed entries behind closed doors, finalists ‘pitch’ their pieces to the panel, imitating the process of a designer approaching the supply and manufacture market. Through this process, the designers are able to receive direct feedback, not only vital to the development of their prototype, but their technique in approaching the market as a business exercise.
Getting the marketing ball rolling is, for most designers, an un-natural instinct. The format of this year’s Launch Pad therefore aimed to direct the 15 finalists to approach design as a business, as apposed to a purely creative endeavor.
“It was a great evolution of Launch Pad to have the entrants present their concepts in person,” explains Launch Pad 2014 judge Aiden Mawhinney from Living Edge. “The truth is it’s imperative for these contestants to get varied feedback. Design feedback is critical, but if you are seriously wanting to take a product to market you also need to think about things like manufacture, pricing, retailing, warehousing and production. Having a broad range of industry judges’ means entrants get more holistic and practical feedback.”
Above: Winner: Pinch Mill – Richard Harrod / Runner Up: Crescent Table Lamp – Lewis Yee
TOP THREE TIPS FOR EMERGING DESIGNERS
know everything there is know about your product; not just the design and basic costing. What materials you want to use, how it’s going to be manufactured, how are similar products manufactured. Where are the materials sourced from, are the fittings stainless steel, are there alternative materials that can be used.
You may have the greatest design the world has ever seen, but if you are unable to clearly share your concept and communicate its purpose and sell the idea you will find it hard to gain any traction. Renderings, drawings and prototypes can be valuable tools in pitching your ideas.
Good ones are hard to find, but are invaluable when you have them. They will provide you with helpful and constructive criticism and give you guidance in finding the right or alternative answers. While a mentor wont do the work for you, but they will smooth your path towards getting your product to the next stage.
Launch Pad is proudly supported by Major Sponsors and Partners as part of Sydney Indesign 2013:
– MAJOR SPONSOR + EXHIBITION HOST: Cult
– FOUNDING PARTNER: Living edge
– PRODUCTION PARTNER: Workshopped
– MEDIA PARTNER: AusInfront.com
– EDUCATION PARTNER: General Assembly
– FINALIST GIFT PACKS: MUJI Australia
– Aidan Mawhinney, Living Edge
– Bec Findlay, How We Create
– Daniel Dalla Riva, 6 Hats
– Raymond Scott, Workshopped
– Richard Munao, CULT
– Ross Didier, Designer
– Terri Winter, Top3 By Design
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