Explore Collaborations: The project was titled ‘Friendly’ and was commissioned by the fast moving consumer goods company - Unilever


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Project name: The project was titled ‘Friendly’ and was commissioned by the fast moving consumer goods company - Unilever

Project information:

This project involved 3rd year Undergraduate and 4th year Undergraduate in the subject area of 3D Design, Product Design and Transportation Design. The collaboration was a Group project with an external client.

An overview of the project:

Unilever commissioned a collaborative learning project with Design for Industry students at levels 5 and 6 of their programme. The intention of the project was not to answer a well-rehearsed and defined problem but rather to consider the work to be undertaken as a process of research gathering and then develop something ‘new’, with no pre-conceived ideas. It was essential that students worked within small teams bringing together many diverse personal skills.

This was an ongoing project year on year. Unilever communicated that their organisation was about sustainable and flexible product – the setting up of the project approach was that of ‘what if?’
Demographics were an important consideration for them and they needed to look five to seven years into the future to assess product needs. One of the key aims was to explore whether product design, which is generally not associated with the scientific development of materials, could offer a ‘new’ perspective on product development and how ‘Research and Development’ scientific staff could use design tools within their work.

The project was divided into three distinct phases:

Phase 1 ‘has design anything to say about the future of fluids?’

Phase 2 ‘the ritual of washing clothes’ this incorporated ‘time-based activities’ in order to re-direct focus from exploring the product only to product users.

Phase 3 ‘has design anything to say about the washing of clothes?’
A series of product and service ideas were developed and presented to scientists at Unilever, using time-based media as a presentation and communication device.

A description of who was involved in the project:

The parties involved were Unilever – the client, Design for Industry (4 year sandwich programme) students from levels 5 and 6, Neil Smith - Enterprise Fellow, from the School of Design at Northumbria University.

A description of the key outcomes of this project for all parties which were involved:

A series of product and service ideas were communicated by the students, which Unilever could develop and produce in the future.

The design process allowed for the identification and development of film and animation as a successful communication method for the project. This format allowed complex, conceptual ideas to be captured in a concise, appealing, high impact way and demonstrate clearly, to the scientific audience at Unilever and academic staff, using illustration, information graphics and related software and software special effects.
Also student engagement started with allowing freedom. In the past projects with a strict client focus, which was very direct, was tougher for the student and they didn’t always believe in it.

 Exploring Collaboration Learning

Design ideas are displayed along with clear information about the concept. This presentation would be seen by Unilever

 Exploring Collaboration Learning

Information graphics explain developed concepts

 Exploring Collaboration Learning

Initial ideas, jotted on 'post-it' notes and 'mood' visuals