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2020 Winner - Naomi Cairns Part2

University of Dundee Bsc (Hons) graduate in product design Noami Cairns used colour to help combat the loneliness of isolation in a beautifully considered product called ‘Affinity’. During lockdown at the very end of her course and without access to University facilities she proved that her creativity is a force to be reckoned with. Impressed by her coding skills as well as the concept and use of colour to convey feelings she proved a worthy winner of the Colour in Design Award and is definitely one to keep an eye on. Find out more about Naomi and what makes her tick.

How did you feel about winning the Colour in Design Award – what does it mean to you?

I was shocked; I did not expect it to happen. After the initial shock wore off, I was excited and extremely grateful. The award means a great deal to me; it was one of the first times I put my work out in the world; it is unbelievable to me the reception my project got. It made me feel more confident in my skills and ideas and makes me excited to continue my creative journey!

How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?

Colour is extremely important in this project; I think colours are personal to everyone we each associate colours with different emotions, thoughts and experiences. My aim was for people to be fully able to express themselves and experiences in colour. While the physical objects are neutral, the colour truly shines through depending on what someone wants to share.

In other projects, I try to think about the target audience/market to get a feel for the colours I can use. I also like to research to help get a clearer image of how colour plays a role in my work. I think it’s fascinating how colours can convey the overall mood for a project as well as how colours used can impact those who are viewing them.

What is your main source of inspiration?

I would say people and my environment. My main design goals focus around helping people feel happier and more connected. I think people create an endless source of possibilities to explore. I also love taking some inspiration from my environments, like shades of colour and naturally forged forms.

What makes you happiest/most fulfilled in your creative process?

Both the learning experience and any positive feedback, I think these are invaluable and make me feel happy in my process. Any opportunity to help me grow as a designer makes me happy but also getting some positive feedback now and again definitely puts a smile on my face and lets me know if I am heading in the right direction.

What are you working on now?

I am currently getting ready to start my Master’s in Product Design at the University of Dundee. As well as this, I am thinking about ways I can build on my project Affinity.

Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?Hopefully, working on new and exciting projects within the design industry. I like the idea of continuing working with ways of connection between people but I am open to new experiences.

Creative high point?

Winning the Colour in Design Award! This has definitely been a creative highlight. Affinity has been a rollercoaster of a project, from the research, development to now. I am proud I stuck with it and pushed my creative process.

Creative low point?

Probably not sharing some or standing up for some of my design ideas in older projects when I believed in them. Sometimes it’s better to share ideas you are passionate about than staying quiet, going along with something which is just not working!

Is there one person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to your creative journey?

Yeah, usually when I work on a project, I end up chatting about it with my Dad. He usually gets me to question the direction I’m going in, helps me think of alternatives and has always encouraged me creatively (just like the rest of my family). Sometimes it is just talking through my process to help me wrap my head around what I am doing.

What is your favourite colour?


Image credits: Naomi Cairns


Instagram: ncairnsdesign


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