Case study

The real-world design briefs helping Alex stand out

Student Alex Freeman has been inspired by the real-world briefs he has had the chance to work on as part of his Product Design degree. Alex aspires to be a concept/industrial designer and he knows these opportunities will help him stand out from the crowd.

Pushing the boundaries

Alex worked alongside Imperial Bathrooms in the third year of his BA (Hons) Product Design course to design a bathroom range that was fit for manufacture and sale alongside the company’s current products. Alex says:

"This allowed us to experience the workflow of a real project and the expectations required from a client. This was one project amongst others in our final year, however, it stood out by giving us a range of challenging experiences that were vastly different to purely academic projects and allowed us to develop a range of new skills. It was an incredible opportunity to be a part of, allowing us to push the boundaries of what we had achieved before."

Alex's work

Here are Alex’s group’s designs of a bath, toilet and basin for a uniquely styled bathroom. 

CAD design of a modern slate and metal bath with rose gold hardware
CAD design of a modern bathroom sink and shelf storage unit
CAD design of a modern bathroom

Skills for industry

Alex has become more confident in his abilities during his time at University and feels he’s gained valuable skills for progression in a career in design.

He says the course has “opened up opportunities for working with a team and developing communication skills which will be essential for my future.”

Photo of a male student
Alex Freeman

Why Derby?

Alex wanted to study product design following his GCSEs and felt that a Product Design course would allow him to develop skills that would be essential to working in this industry.

“After looking at a range of universities, attending open days and going to interviews, Derby was the one that stood out. The atmosphere seemed a lot warmer than other places especially for my specific course, and it was clear that there was a level of care about ability and aspiration over traditional results.”

Alex spent time researching a lot of courses and felt his chosen course “clearly aligned” with his goals. He adds, “after looking at the opportunities that were available throughout the course it was the obvious choice for me.”

A supportive learning environment

Alex was impressed with our lecturers’ depth of knowledge and breadth of experience within the industry. He says “they were always willing to take extra steps to ensure that the best possible work is produced. This inspires everyone on the course to succeed in meeting their goals and exceed expectations.”

As the tutors get to know every individual, they have an understanding of their workflow and skills. Alex sees this as translating to a specific route of teaching with each student, allowing them to achieve their potential.

Function meets sustainability

A brief from Alex's final semester required the pairing of functional design with sustainability, Alex says: 

“The eco design module focused on creating a product that had an overall beneficial environmental impact. That involved ensuring that all the materials required were responsibly sourced and recyclable, as well as the product’s function contributing more to the user than it cost through production. This gave me a range of challenges that allowed me to push my design capabilities to their limits, and really gave me an exciting brief to work with."

Take a look at Alex's designs for innovative kitchenware that's environmentally sustainable, including a point of sale unit: 

Digital image of a digital chopping board
Digital image of a point of sale unit for a chopping board product
Digital image of a digital chopping board in use on a kitchen surface

Future plans

Alex graduated with First-Class Honours and has been appointed as a junior designer at Imperial Bathrooms where he says he is looking forward to “continuing to learn and develop the skills that have been introduced through my course”.

You can view Alex’s portfolio on his website and his Instagram @alexfreemandesign.