Tag Archives: Design

Pioneering entrepreneur launches The Clever Carbon Company to help protect the planet

A pioneering entrepreneur has launched a series of ventures aimed at helping protect the planet by improving the sustainable practices of businesses and individuals.

David Oates, 45, has established The Clever Carbon Company, based in Worsley, Greater Manchester, with a mission to bring about change by rethinking the way that products are designed, made, used and decommissioned at their end of life.

He already runs a consultancy business called Mouthful, focused on advising the hospitality sector on strategy and growth opportunities. He is also a sessional lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.

Previously, he had a varied career including roles as a manager in the strategy team at professional services giant KPMG and later as head of strategy at LateRooms.

He has a master’s degree in materials science from the University of Sheffield, an MBA from Leeds University Business School, and is a fellow of the Strategic Planning Society.

David has received support for The Clever Carbon Company from the GC Business Growth Hub, and funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and British Business Bank.

He has also been collaborating with the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford on research and development projects linked to aspects such as materials science, rapid prototyping, innovation and digital enablement.

Through a blend of product and service design and using innovative technologies, The Clever Carbon Company explores and identifies solutions in industries such as consumer products and clothing, which are currently the largest contributors to landfill.

The first priority area for The Clever Carbon Company is tackling the impact of single-use materials in the personal care industry.

This has led to NeuTrail, a novel refillable dispenser for personal care products such as shampoo or handwash. Using circular design, it is made from a single, recycled material, which makes the product easier to recycle repeatedly, and it has a simple, gravity-fed design. which makes it easier to use, even for people with mobility issues.

NeuTrail is being manufactured with short UK-based supply chains via 3D-print technology, meaning each dispenser can be personalised. The range has already gained listings in a number of catalogues offering sustainable consumer products.

David’s second priority area is clothing and textiles. The Clever Carbon Company is developing solutions for high-demand, non-discretionary clothing, such as uniforms and workwear, through a venture named Cottonopoly.

Partnering with UK manufacturers, Cottonopoly supplies cotton or polycotton garments, initially school cardigans and sweaters.

Parents pay a deposit on each garment, which is then refunded when the item is returned after use. Returns then have an extended life as either pre-loved clothing or by being recycled into products of similar quality.

Cottonopoly has been conducting a trial of the takeback scheme at St Mark’s Church of England Primary School in Worsley and plans to roll out in other parts of the UK later this year.

Father-of-two David said: “We’re providing affordable, sustainable clothing and are incentivising parents to return items they no longer need so they can be renewed, re-used or recycled.

“Having young children, I am fully aware how many garments families can get through, and how they eventually end up being discarded.

“Every year, millions of school garments end up in landfill sites or are incinerated, both of which are very bad for the environment and are quite avoidable.

“Cottonopoly puts an end to single-life clothing, offering high quality and affordable products that can be easily and efficiently repurposed or recycled with negligible waste. Our mission is to reduce the impact of clothing on the planet, as well as on household purse strings.

“We’re collaborating with local mills, reducing the need for transportation. Anything can be sourced cheaply overseas, but the traditional UK textile heartlands are the perfect place to establish short, UK-based supply chains, which will be an essential part of tackling demanding environmental targets.

“Manchester and the surrounding area have deservedly been considered a hub of innovation ever since the Spinning Jenny and Spinning Mule effectively triggered the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th Century. At Cottonopoly we are continuing this tradition with a 21st century twist that puts consumers at its heart.”

David is looking to expand Cottonopoly to include other school uniform overgarments such as trousers and shirts, as well as workwear and potentially leisurewear. Customers will be able to buy items online via the company’s website or its app.

He is also separately selling the technology incorporated into NeuTrail and Cottonopoly under the brand name Scan&.

“NeuTrail and Cottonopoly are both underpinned by the same traceable takeback technology which keeps track of every product we make, including what it’s made from, who uses it and when it’s time to ultimately repair, re-use or recycle it,” he said.

“We use circular-design and traceable takeback technology to provide products that last longer and don’t end up being discarded, thereby inspiring people to become more conscious consumers.

“Our technology tracks all our products through their entire lifecycle, which makes returning them effortless. Users are better able to keep track of what they buy and are directly rewarded for returning the items at their end of life.

“If society is to meet challenging climate targets in the years to come, this circular way of thinking about products will need to become more commonplace, which is where The Clever Carbon Company comes in.

“Currently the sustainability landscape is confusing to both businesses and members of the public. The Clever Carbon Company is all about making sustainable practice more accessible and practical.”

Jabra makes a sound choice as it extends relationship with PTC

One of the world’s leading brands in professional headsets has turned to the power of Creo to push the boundaries of audio excellence.

Jabra, which is part of the global GN Group, has extended its long-term relationship with Reading-based PTC to ensure that its engineering team can continue to turn designers’ sketches into finished products that are used by hundreds of thousands of consumers in the office, home, and music studio every year.

The digital transformation’s specialist software has been the preferred CAD tool for more than five years and this is being driven by industry-leading surface modelling features.

“Once upon a time, a headset was a relatively simple design that was straightforward for both designer and engineer,” said Claus Ellegaard Madsen, Senior Mechanical Engineer at GN, the company behind the Jabra brand.

“Today, the story is different, with modern headsets being based on highly complex, organic designs to ensure the best possible user experience.”

He continued: “As you would expect, our design requirements are increasing all the time, and we wouldn’t be able to do these extremely complex organic designs without the help of Creo and the possibilities it offers in terms of, for example, very complex surface modelling.”

One of Jabra’s overall design philosophies is to have a master model that contains almost all the components in the Jabra universe. This makes it easier for the company to collaborate across the organisation, as all departments refer to the same master and the same data.

“It helps us in the sense that we can further develop on the foundation we already have and reuse the design elements that work well for us – both in terms of optimising the individual designs and minimising the risk of errors,” said Claus.

PTC’s Elliot Clarke added his support: “With ever-increasing customer demands and, therefore an increased focus on design, Creo plays an important role in Jabra’s design phase. The ISDX module in Creo allows design engineers to control everything about surfaces.

“They start with curves, they build surfaces on those curves, and they can really control the flow and curvature of the surfaces as they connect. It’s great to see Jabra utilising these technologies to deliver a best-in-class audio experience to their customers and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

Just a few months ago, Jabra launched its new generation of Elite series of wireless earphones called Jabra Elite 8 Active and Jabra Elite 10.

About PTC

PTC drives industry innovation with proven, award-winning solutions that enable companies to differentiate their products and services, achieve operational excellence and improve employee productivity.

With PTC and its ecosystem of partners, manufacturers can leverage the promise of new technologies to drive their digital transformation – on-premises, in the cloud or via a pure SaaS approach.

For further information, please visit www.PTC.com or www.jabra.co.uk

Web design agency moves to new HQ and takes fresh direction in 25th year

A WEB design agency celebrating 25 years in business has expanded after opening new offices.

Based at Hanover House in St Asaph, Designweb grew its team last year having secured a raft of clients in multiple sectors across the UK and overseas.

Director Paul Lyons, from Rhyl, has also developed the company’s offering to focus solely on the development, hosting, and support of WordPress websites, in addition to existing digital marketing services, including SEO and consultancy.

Collaborating with businesses such as Be Social UK, Radar PR and Sales Geek North Wales – whose director Aaron Sussex worked closely with Paul on the innovative strategy and growth of Designweb in past months – has put the company in a strong position moving into the Spring.

The 46 year-old dad-of-three, married to Kate, is now looking to take the company to the next level.

“Approaching such a landmark anniversary gave us the impetus to reflect on our services and focus on how we can do even more for current and prospective clients,” said Paul.

“We have emerged from the pandemic with a clear vision and now concentrate on SME business websites using WordPress (and WooCommerce) given the expertise of our team and it is the most used application on the internet.”

He added: “Taking a step back with Aaron and the team has been a learning curve but incredibly useful and inspiring.

“Refreshing aspects of the business and the services we provide – including our hosting packages, search engine optimisation, and consultancy – has been a breath of fresh air and is already receiving a positive response as we welcome new customers and strengthen the connections we have in place with some of the leading organisations in Wales, the UK and beyond.”

With customer service at the core of its plans, Designweb has won business in many different arenas over the last 25 years – including education, manufacturing, childcare, engineering, and hospitality – and Paul says their dedication has never shown signs of wavering.

“If anything, we are more determined than ever to go the extra mile,” he added.

“This year has already seen us secure new clients, including a Danish marine and infrastructure company and a Merseyside-based wind turbine installation partner.

“Given the pressure on all organisations – notably in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic challenges – providing value for money and being at the forefront of advances in technology is crucial, as well as giving users the best online experience possible.

“Whether it’s branding, web design, ecommerce, digital marketing and complementary services, we can give clients a unique end-to-end experience thanks to our talented and experienced team and our renewed focus on providing a fast, secure and reliable platform for hosting our clients’ websites.”

For more information, visit the website www.designweb.co.uk or email mail@designweb.co.uk. Alternatively, call 01745 508588 and follow them on social media at @design_web.

PTC’s technology plays key role in Nuclear Fusion breakthrough

One of the UK’s leading digital transformation experts has played a key role in the recent Nuclear Fusion reaction breakthrough that generated more energy than it consumed.

PTC, which has its technical and sales office in Reading, has announced that its Creo® computer-aided design (CAD) and Windchill® product lifecycle management (PLM) technology was used by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) throughout the development of the National Ignition Facility (NIF).

With more than 3.5 million components, comprised of 750,000 unique part designs, the highly engineered NIF “system of systems” machine is believed to be the largest Creo and Windchill assembly ever created and perhaps the largest assembly ever modelled in 3D CAD.

“The NIF represents an incredible feat of engineering, whose breakthrough could ultimately transform access to clean energy,” said Jim Heppelmann, President and CEO of PTC.

“We are thankful for the collaborative relationship we have enjoyed over the years with LLNL and the United States Department of Energy (DOE) more broadly. The use of PTC software solutions throughout the project’s development demonstrates the tremendous power of our technology.”

PTC has been supporting the NIF engineering team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a close partner for over 25 years, starting with its Pro/ENGINEER® CAD software (now known as Creo) and then adding Windchill to the solution as its data management needs grew and grew.

Over the years, the company’s product teams have had many collaborative discussions with the LLNL and broader DOE representatives, who have always challenged it to push the envelope for what its software must do in the advanced projects it is used in.

This included major advancements in 3D visualization technology that have subsequently gone on to be incorporated into the wider PTC suite of solutions.

Jim concluded: “Our goal is to enable our customers to make their existing products more sustainable and, of course, to enable them to design and manufacture new innovations that drive the clean energy revolution, ranging from solar panels to the National Ignition Facility.”

Four new arrivals strengthen ranks at creative agency Fluid Ideas

Four new starters have strengthened the ranks of creative agency Fluid Ideas as its expansion continues.

Fluid, which is based at Darley Abbey Mills, near Derby, has recruited across four of its six teams in line with further growth in demand for its range of services.

The new arrivals are Nicole Davies, Tom King, Will Davis and Matt Thompson.

Nicole, who has a master’s degree in marketing management, has joined Fluid’s websites and systems team as a project manager. Her role is to ensure digital projects are delivered efficiently, on time and to budget while also helping to support and optimise clients’ websites.

Tom has joined the brand and creative team as a multi-disciplinary designer, working on client campaigns and pitches. He has more than 10 years’ commercial experience of working with national and international brands and he adds to the team’s animation and CGI capabilities. Tom also holds a leadership and management qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Will, a digital marketing graduate from the University of Derby, has gained experience in the sport and leisure sector and has joined Fluid’s search and social team. His main focus will be search engine optimisation, content writing and social media management.

Matt has joined the design and artwork team and brings with him more than 20 years’ experience of working in local agencies. In joining Fluid, he follows in the footsteps of his brother Ben, who was the agency’s first employee and has helped drive the growth of its brand and creative team for almost two decades.

Ed Bowler, joint managing director of Fluid Ideas, said: “As always, our focus has been on growing with good people. Nicole, Matt, Will and Tom all bring new and exciting talents to the team but, most importantly, they care about the quality of work we produce and they will undoubtedly add to the spirit and culture that has helped make Fluid such a healthy and enjoyable place to be, for our clients and our colleagues.”

Fluid Ideas is a full-service agency whose operations cover branding and campaigns, graphic and website design, computer-generated imagery, 3D animation and video, photography, copywriting, digital marketing, content management, search and social media – all in-house.

Its client base spans sectors including healthcare, retirement living, property, professional services, education, finance, leisure and hospitality.

The agency celebrated its 18th birthday in January and posted record annual revenues of £3.2m in the year to November, boosted by increased business from existing clients and a raft of new wins. Staff numbers have increased to over 50 in recent months in line with Fluid’s growth.

Unispace shortlisted for three Mixology2022 awards

Global workplace creation expert, Unispace, has been shortlisted for three Mixology2022 awards.

Hosted by Mix Interiors, the Mixology Awards celebrate the very best projects, products and people in commercial interior design. Unispace has been shortlisted in three categories for both its client projects and its own workplace designs, which include:

  • Project of the Year – Workplace Interiors, 15,000 to 30,000 sq ft: The firm’s development of Astellas Pharma’s Madrid workplace made the shortlist for this category. The multinational pharmaceutical company reached out to Unispace to develop a new workplace to suit the post-Covid needs of its business. The bespoke workplace was designed to provide a range of agile environments and create a more human-centric environment stepping away from a traditional hierarchical corporate structure.
  • Project of the Year – Workplace Interiors, Sub 5,000 sq ft: Unispace’s own Amsterdam Studio has been shortlisted for this award. The space has been designed to embrace ‘gezellig’, a Dutch term which emphasises open, inviting, and diverse spaces including a Library, Wintergarden, Social Kitchen and Karaoke Booth, all arranged around our dedicated learning and collaboration space: The Hive. The studio has been planned to take best advantage of the canal-side views and is a showcase for progressive local design culture and heritage, with the use of bold textiles, recycled materials, and iconic Dutch furniture selections.
  • Project of the Year – Workplace Interiors, 5,000 to 15,000 sq ft: The experts new Zurich studio wraps up the triple shortlist for Unispace. The studio was developed with people in mind. An experiential design has delivered a sense of calm and serenity that is influenced by its natural surroundings with material selection as natural as it is minimal, with a bias towards refined detailing. As a major hub in the EMEA portfolio, the studio design focuses on open, flexible spaces that foster connectivity, collaboration, innovation and wellbeing. The project was also delivered sustainably and was accredited with the highest possible LEED rating (Platinum).

Winners of the awards will be announced in June.

Lawrence Mohiuddine, CEO EMEA at Unispace, commented:

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for not one, but three Mixology2022 awards, especially following our exciting with for Workplace Interiors, Project of the Year, 5,000 and to 15,000 sq ft last year with Boston Scientific and their remarkable workplace in Clonmel.”

“This prestigious accolade celebrates the best in the world of workplace interior design and to be shortlisted for not only the projects we deliver for our clients, but also our own office designs is an honour.”

Farnborough’s PTC gives Petdoors.com’s creature comforts with power of Onshape

PTC’s Onshape design platform was put to good use by Petdoors.com to help modernise its best-selling pet flap that is fitted to 25,000 homes every year.

The Endura Flap has built a reputation over the past two decades for its flexibility, pet safety, high insulation values and variable magnetic seal strength and the company wanted to build on this by offering even greater performance to pet owners.

Located in California, the company’s design engineers tapped into the power of Farnborough-based PTC’s Onshape, a product design platform built for the cloud that combines CAD and Product Data Management (PDM) with advanced collaboration and analytics capabilities.

This technology enabled designers to shake off the shackles of the pandemic and collaborate remotely on numerous iterations, ensuring the new Endura Flap was brought to market on budget and quicker than expected.

“It is our best-selling product and the idea behind this was to take what we have and make it better in in every way possible,” said Kevin Hendrickson, director of engineering at Petdoors.com.

“We wanted to give it a cleaner look, make it easier to assemble in our manufacturing process and make it a little more automation friendly. Then just update the current version by incorporating customer feedback to make it a better experience overall for the client and end-user.”

He continued: “I started by sketching in certain elements from the original design in Onshape and worked around them to design the new frame and components.”

Onshape’s configuration editor was critical to a successful outcome, with the integrated data management that is native to the software eliminating the hassle and costs associated with PDM systems sometimes required to manage version control nightmares.

“One of the reasons we love Onshape is because the configuration editor is very good compared to other CAD systems,” Hendrickson added.

“We have four sizes of this pet door, and we use it in door mount, wall mount, window mount and patio door mount formats so you can imagine all the different sizes of windows and doors.

“When you add in the complexity from four sizes for each of these variants you can imagine we have a tonne of configurations. Being able to see all those options without having to design each one discreetly is a big benefit for us.

“Collaboration is extremely easy with Onshape. There was no concern about breaking the model because one person saved on top of the other person’s changes. Programmes I had used in the past did not include a PDM system, so when multiple engineers were working on a product, we had to tell each other when we were on the same part and even coordinate our saving.

“Onshape does not have any of those issues. We can have it open, work on it together, even be in separate places on different computers – ideal for avoiding delays during the pandemic.”

David Katzman, SVP of general operations at Onshape, added his support: “With Onshape’s unique capabilities, such as branching and merging, version control, and unlimited undo, engineers can explore concepts and easily revert back to any step of the design process. Our platform eliminates concerns associated with experimentation.

“We’re excited to see Pet Doors’ continued innovation in Onshape, as they create world class products for pet owners.”

 About PTC

PTC, which has its UK base in Farnborough, is a global company that provides a host of technology solutions to help industrial companies create value for themselves and the rest of the world.

This is achieved through a combination of Augmented Reality, Industrial IoT, Product Lifecycle Management and CAD solutions.


Iconic Squirrel nut brand celebrates past and looks to future with new identity and positioning by Straight Forward Design

Nut industry leader John B. Sanfilippo & Son has relaunched its iconic Squirrel brand, with a new identity and positioning developed in partnership with global brand design agency Straight Forward Design.

Founded in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1888, Squirrel has become one of America’s most iconic and well-loved nut brands, seen everywhere from Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s pocket as he explored the Antarctic, to Hollywood stars’ dressing rooms.

Amidst the challenging business conditions of the pandemic, John B. Sanfilippo & Son asked Straight Forward Design to reimagine the Squirrel brand, giving it a reason to exist in a crowded marketplace and in its wider portfolio of brands.

John B. Sanfilippo & Son tasked Straight Forward Design with reinventing the Squirrel brand while celebrating its unique legacy and heritage, ensuring it would appeal to “Gen Next” and the food obsessed. The new brand needed to drive taste appeal, hero-ing Squirrel’s exquisite flavours, ingredients and creation methods.

The brand is also looking to a sustainable future, with planned activity including partnerships to protect habitats and wildlife by educating people and supporting rural communities.

To achieve all of this, Straight Forward Design started by putting the nut back at the centre of the story. The new Squirrel brand draws on an impressive history, borrowing from its rich back catalogue of iconography and ephemera and updating it for a modern audience. It also takes inspiration from fashion for its architectural principles, with signature, diffusion collections, and high-end couture taste sensations.

The new positioning is all about celebrating the nut, brought to life through a new, updated squirrel character with a new name, Zip (after the famous Squirrel product Nut Zippers), and a whole back story. Zip constantly scours the earth to gather the greatest nuts and ingredients. The charming character is free to roam around the new, art-deco inspired logo, never in the same place twice, and always on the move.

Squirrel’s new packaging is designed to offer the customer a premium experience from shelf through to eating, incorporating the brand’s origin story, the nuts and their ingredients, and an explorer’s map to guide the consumer through the brand experience.

Straight Forward Design was responsible for the new strategy, positioning, brand identity, brand activation, brand experience, brand guidelines and packaging design. 

John Goetter, Vice President Marketing, John B Sanfilippo & Son, said: “Working in partnership with Straight Forward Design, we have developed a new brand that nods to Squirrel’s incredible history while ensuring it has real appeal for a modern audience seeking high-quality specialty foods for themselves or as a gift.

“Straight Forward have breathed new life into Squirrel, considering how the brand should behave at all levels, from a marketing perspective through to sustainability and beyond.”


Mike Foster, Founder and Creative Director, Straight Forward Design, added: “It’s been a delight to work on reinventing a brand with such a rich heritage and back story, which we’ve been able to draw on in order to create something that feels authentic and true to Squirrel’s roots.

“Our approach to the brief is embodied by our new brand character Zip, scurrying from Squirrel’s past into an exciting, animated future.”


Pegasus Group economics director joins Institute of Economic Development Board

“The more people we can get together from economic development – public and private sector – to help to lead the economic development agenda and influence decision-making, the better it will be for everyone.” This is the view of Richard Cook, Director – Economics, at Pegasus Group who has been appointed to the Board of the Institute of Economic Development (IED).

Richard, entering his 19th year in economic development and his sixth as an IED member, explained that he was motivated to help the sector evolve and thrive. “Economic development is an area I find extremely interesting but it is also one that is hard to define,” he said. “Whether it is Levelling Up, town centres/high streets, the role of LEPs going forward, devolution or planning, economic development is all around us. My ambition is for us to represent an even wider range of public and private sector organisations that help shape the direction of the IED and government agenda on economic development. This means influencing Levelling Up or any other flagship policies that are announced in the next few years and the agenda for the new local and sub-regional government structure.”

Richard outlined his view that the IED is “a serious thought leader for the area of economic development” and there is an opportunity to increase the breadth and depth of insight available to decision makers. “As a Board we need to ensure that the IED provides an evidence base to inform economic development decisions,” he revealed. “My expertise is in undertaking economic impact assessments and socio-economic analysis, and, whilst I am based in Manchester, I work all over the country so can contribute to that evidence base. We should also be thinking about intelligence that developers need, including issues such as how the housing offer can meet the needs of an older population.”

Pegasus Group is an independent consultancy specialising in planning, design, environment, economics, transport, infrastructure and heritage. The economics arm of the business helps organisations make the case for development, including residential, extra care and student accommodation schemes, and commercial development, and Richard told how the IED has supported him professionally. “The IED is the main national voice for economic development and it is important that we are members,” he said. “It is known, even by non-members, and carries a level of authority and respect. From a personal perspective, being part of the IED has been crucial for connecting with economic development professionals, public and private sector, including traditionally at the annual conference. It also brings people together effectively through online events and CPD programmes.”

Having previously worked at DTZ Investors as well as New Economy Manchester, now part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, before joining Pegasus Group in 2016, Richard is an advocate of the role of public-private sector collaboration. “Private sector consultancies offer a level of independence to the economic development sphere and there is a lot they can bring to the table in terms of analysis and evidence-informed advice,” he said. “Yes, they have to follow their clients’ directive, but it is healthy for private sector consultancies to provide a level of critique to public sector organisations (on local plan consultations, for example), and also vice-versa.”

IED Executive Director Nigel Wilcock said: “Our vision is be the leading professional body for economic development professionals, helping them to create stronger communities and sustainable economies across the UK. Within that our core purpose is to support, develop and connect our members, represent and champion the profession, and influence and inform policy. This is a crucial time for economic development across the four nations and we want to draw on the knowledge, expertise and ideas from within our membership, public and private sector, to support our mission. We are therefore delighted to welcome Richard to our Board of Directors.”