The Faces behind the Furniture: James – Design

The Faces behind the Furniture: James – Design
November 6, 2018 Lloyd
In Design, People

Our next instalment takes us into the design department

As you may know by now, in an effort to bring back that personal touch, we are interviewing people from different departments all across Wood Bros to find out what makes it tick. This time, we interviewed James, a designer, to find out what makes the design department tick.

How long have you been with Wood Bros now, and what is your role?

I’ve been here for 3 years and 9 months now, and I am Head of Design and Development.

Sounds fancy! What does it involve?

Pretty much what it says on the tin – I design products for Wood Bros including items for the Old Charm collection and our Sofa Collection. You can read a bit more about this in our design blog – From Page to Product.

What does a typical day look like?

There is no typical day – every day is different! I could have a creative day, where I would do research into new trends, products and styles by visiting exhibitions, for example. Or I might be developing new ideas and sketching, or perhaps doing some CAD (Computer Aided Design). I am also involved with reviewing prototypes and have direct contact with the manufacturing process.

How long is the design process?

There is an awful lot of work involved, as you may know from our blog about the design process. To briefly explain though, a whole range of 7-8 pieces can take 8-10 months to complete, and an individual piece can take perhaps a month. This includes everything from the initial brief and hand sketches to prototyping and the finished item sat in the showroom.

What are the biggest challenges when designing a new product?

The Old Charm Collection has nearly 100 pieces in it. The challenge when designing more is trying to make it different enough to stand out and be relevant to the current market, yet still keeping the look and feel of Old Charm. You can’t stray too far from the collection or it will look out of place. For example, the chop bead, cactus flower and linenfolds are all integral pieces of Old Charm, and it wouldn’t be the same without them!

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

As I said previously, designing something new can be a challenge, but I like problem-solving and learning new things so I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I really enjoy seeing finished prototypes for the first time, as well as living with some of the products. What I mean by this is that we take some of the upholstery items home with us to actually experience them ourselves, so we know exactly what is great about it and what needs tweaking.

Many thanks to James for talking to us and giving us some insight on how he plays his part withing Wood Bros.

As mentioned,why not read our blog post on the design process From Page to Product, which gives you an idea of how our design process works!