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Ben Ryder literally stopped the judges in their tracks and began explaining his project with such enthusiasm and detail, it was obvious that he was a designer that was going places. His degree work focused on a contemporary food and prep station design for people with impaired mobility. It was Ben's ability to communicate his ideas and perfectly combine form, function and colour that made his work stand out from the crowd.

Don't go anywhere for a few minutes and meet Ben Ryder...

What inspires you?

Ultimately, the goal of being able to declare 'I designed that' or 'I worked on that' is my main drive. The hard work and late nights at university were all worth it in the end, as I achieved the 1:1 Class Degree I was aiming for. I can take this experience forward and accept there will always be testing times, regardless of the type of project, however there is always a greater end result. Currently, I'm still unsure of which field I want to go into within product/industrial design but I don't necessarily class this as a negative any longer. Regardless - whichever area I end up working in, the sense of accomplishment and realization that I have helped a user group with a product or system will be worth it.

What is your design process?

My exact design process is still developing. I feel that I will always naturally fall into the 'Brief - Research - Ideation - Development - Deliver' timeline of the process as it such a wide range of projects. However, through my placements and internships, I realize that particular companies focus on different aspects more so than others. Personally, I believe I can communicate my ideas well through sketching so my project folders are always likely to be full of sketches!

How important is colour in your work?

At first, I simply use a ballpoint to get my ideas across and scribble any thoughts I have - so as you'd imagine, minimal colour! When a project starts to pick up pace and a direction has been set, I would typically start introducing a colour palette which meets the age range / gender / environment of the project brief. Colours may then be influenced by the choice of materials, etc. With 3D rendering constantly advancing, we can now test a range of different colour schemes on a product with the click of the mouse. The colours chosen for final compositions must be managed well, depending on the product type, it may suit a background of similar tones and a contrast which pops!

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm currently on a 6 month internship at TEAGUE in downtown Seattle, so quite a difference from Teesside! I am an Industrial Design Intern, started early November, to be completed in May. So far, it has been a huge learning curve and a fantastic experience. It will definitely strengthen my CV and all-round knowledge and awareness alongside my previous 5 month placement at Tommee Tippee. I can not disclose any information about the work I have been on during my time over here, unfortunately. However, here is a link to the TEAGUE website:

Where do you want to be in 3 years time?

In 3 years, I would like to have found an area which sparks my interest and puts my abilities to the best use. Fields such as technology, transport, kitchen products and furniture are all areas which I am interested in. I hope to be in a full time design role shortly after returning to the UK. Design consultancies could give me an opportunity to broaden my portfolio through a range of different products and briefs.

Is there one person who really made a difference to your creative journey?

My Product Design college teacher, Mr Green was a big factor as to why I chose to study Product Design. I could see how passionate he was about the industry during lessons and conversations with him. He stayed back at work if I or any classmates needed to get extra work done and push us to realize our potentials. Throughout university, as stereotypical as this might seem, I would have to thank my course mates, family and my girlfriend who supported me and picked me up if I was at low points. Many late night phone calls to my parents would lead to them grabbing an A4 sheet of paper and scribbling ideas down, they're not designers but they cared!

What is your favourite colour?

My favourite colour is teal. I don't know why, I just relate to it a lot. Closely followed by a deep tangerine orange!

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