D+I hosts PDE students


D+I was honoured to open up our Melbourne design studio as part of the Emerging Designers initiative.


The Emerging Designers Council, part of the Design Institute of Australia’s Victorian branch, organised tours of up to 22 creative studios across Melbourne including product design consultancies, photography studios and advertising firms. The aim was to get students from various design disciplines including Product Design and Engineering (PDE) from Melbourne universities and emerging designer graduates, in front of practicing design companies to develop their knowledge and understanding of the design profession.

The D+I night was a sold out event with young budding product designers wanting to get an inside look at the studio. It was a great opportunity for our team to connect with the young designers and share a behind the scenes tour of our new studio, design lab and creative collaboration spaces.

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The night kicked off with showroom tour and company introduction, to give the students a brief background on why D+I is a successful design consultancy it is today. One of the contributing reasons is in the early days, D+I was very focused on the technical aspects of product design as well as the creative aspects and built a heritage based around mechanical engineering, we took on the big and highly complex projects when others couldn’t. Having such a solid product engineering foundation has put us in a great position for growth we enjoy today. 

We then took them through a slide deck that presents the reality of a modern industrial design consultancy, and in particular the comprehensive service stack that D+I offers.  The reality is that modern ID consultancy needs to be incredibly diverse in the skillset it has to offer covering business strategies, design thinking, material sciences, technology integration and manufacturing process developments.  All on top of the more traditional product conceptual design and development toolkits. 

We also presented the four main product development stages of our  proven design process and how we implement design strategies for our clients.  Chau Nguyen, Chief Designer spoke candidly about “the diverse nuggets of experiences and expertise our design team brings to the table”. As a product design consultancy that works across medical, scientific, business, consumer products and increasingly in digital applications, our team have built up an impressive toolbox of diverse skills. We’re uniquely placed and can apply our inherent knowledge across all projects cross pollinating our ideas for the most innovative design outcomes.


One of the design examples showcased was the work we have done for the Exoflex hand therapy medical device developed for BES Healthcare (UK)

The students loved our creative use of simple prototyping tools. We put together a fast and inexpensive prototype made from Lego® components and 3D Objet™ prints to test, learn and refine the primary concept of finger joint manipulation for the device.


The students got to see that behind the romance of being a ‘designer’ there’s the really hard and detailed work we have to do to complete a development program for commercialisation. The repetitive and iterative nature of testing new innovations was illustrated with a multigenerational walk through of 7 actuator design, 11 fully functional prototypes of Exoflex, and 12 hand splint prototype generation among others. Additionally we showed the tedious hard work of preparing and collating, the masses and masses of production control drawings, and being with manufacturers in Australia and throughout Asia to see our products through to market.  It was a reality check on the inner workings and engine room of an industrial design consultancy.


"This case study epitomises the concept of failing forward and persistence with laser focus on the product vision and outcomes for our clients."

- Chau Nguyen


Our team were impressed with the Product Design and Engineering (PDE) students and graduates, a long Q&A session revealed a keen interest in the profession and an astute level of probing for deeper insights on what was presented.  They were well versed in technology applications and processes and well suited to the industry in general.  Our team told the students along with their studies it was vital to open up their minds way beyond what they get taught in the classroom, to absorb across into other professions and integrate skillsets that will help them to uncover new insights and innovations. To be truly innovative and to solve real problems you have to observe with a diverse set of lens and apply core fundamentals as well as new evolving tools to deliver innovation.


"The whole event has been a great success, and I've personally received some fantastic feedback regarding the D+I event. Your presentation about the whole process that D+I goes through when designing a product, as well as the huge number of roles and tasks required was a great insight and really allowed everyone to get a clearer and more extensive view of the day-to-day life in design consultancy."

- Daniel McDermott, Emerging Designers Council Member


Design + Industry