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Designing For "Baked" Business (With Myself As The Adventurous Designer!)

OK guys I am off on another one of my "Design" gossip sessions …. (Hope you don’t mind)

As a designer I am always looking to improve and reinvent items, so Neil (one of the directors of the company) thought it would be a good idea to send either myself or Laura on a course that would give us the chance to see how companies use designers to benefit their business. As Laura had University commitments, I was the lucky one picked for the course. It also tied in well with a potential BasketsGalore design project that we would need outside help with.

The big day arrived (13th March 2014) and I don’t know why but I was slightly nervous! It was as if I was starting a new job, that feeling you get when you don’t know what to expect and to top it off it was rush hour traffic in Belfast! We needed to get to the Hilton Hotel where the course was being held and when we arrived the place was packed with police.  I went to the reception area & the lady pointed me in the direction that I needed to go. Up the stairs I was greeted by lots of people and my first thought was "Wow there are so many companies here!" While I was standing there I noticed a nice blonde-haired lady smile so I asked her was she waiting on someone too as I was waiting for Neil to arrive. She kindly replied and said that no she was with the police service and was working. I didn't know what to say as I wasn't expecting that answer! I went on to embarrass myself further when I said, "It’s on till 5 pm in here" and her reply “No we finish at 1 pm”. This made me think my day would go from bad to worse as I was clearly in the wrong room, whoops ! At one point I thought I was maybe even in the wrong hotel but thankfully I was re-directed to the correct room!

To get to know all the other people in the various business sectors we began with an ice breaker (those things can be horrible, especially since I was the youngest and felt like I had the least experience in business.)  However, everyone was lovely and friendly & I got speaking to a man & lady who worked for a company called Supported Employment. I think they are amazing people, as they employ disabled people into their factory to help make items such as beds, mattresses and vintage bags. Their vision “is to be the best at assisting people with disabilities meet their employee aspirations". Each year they support over 1500 people with disabilities in more than 750 companies to enter and sustain economic employment through our various employment programs. I personally think this is amazing as I think finding a job in general is a very difficult task and here is a company hiring people with disabilities. It is great to see companies like this doing so much for their communities and it would be good to see more of it in future. They explained that they were at the course to get a brand name, one that would represent everything that they do, so they felt this design course would help them achieve this.

The several different companies that attended were all there for different reasons. We were attending  as we want to improve the packaging of our baked goods. We spend thousands of pounds buying great tasting baked goods like cake, muffins, tray bakes and biscuits but feel a lot of the packaging lets the visual appeal down. Many of the products we use are from smaller, artisan producers who haven't yet invested in high quality packaging, so we have decided to create our own brand of baked goods packaging to house their wonderful products. After producing a few design creations so far, I am going to take this BIG task on. I think everyone should wish me luck on my journey and I am going to blog and let everyone know how I am getting on with the course.

Jade :)

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