Tag: innovation

CES logo

#CES2024 – Products for a Better World?

The Consumer Electronics Show took place this week in Las Vegas, and one of the main talking points of this year’s show was Tech for Good and how technology can help solve the world’s problems.

Las Vegas at night - home of CES

We’ve been thinking about how we can incorporate ‘Design for Good’ into the products we develop.

What is ‘Design for Good’ and why should we care?

We all have a responsibility to look after the planet and make as minimal an impact as possible. Design for Good is creating products that solve a problem in a sustainable and UX driven way.

Designing products with Circular Economy (CE) in mind – choosing materials for their longevity and recyclability to keep them in use for as long as possible. Single use plastics are no longer acceptable. At Methven, we were one of the first in the bathroom industry to introduce CE on a stainless steel range of tapware that could be recycled/or re-machined the next time the customer wanted to renovate their bathroom to reduce the number of components being disposed of.

I recently bought a Smeg coffee machine – a fantastic example with minimal waste and plenty of recyclable packaging. The product is extremely well built, has easy to clean and service components, and is designed to be energy efficient. We chose a bean to cup machine rather than pods to cut down on waste. It’s an investment to last years rather than low-cost, “disposable” FastTech which has sadly become more popular in recent years, despite the WEEE directive. One such example is the growing number of disposable vapes, which is having a huge environmental impact as a result of the amount of single use plastics as well as lithium batteries being incorrectly disposed of.

Disposable vapes

To help with product life longevity, user interfaces now tend to be frequently updated, which means we don’t need to upgrade our products so often. Over-the-air updates mean products, like cars for example, can be updated at a reduced cost via Wi-Fi and with an increased rate of adoption as you no longer have to drive it to a garage.

Inclusive Design

Inclusive design is at the forefront of our minds, ensuring that products are usable by as many people as possible, particularly marginalised groups, but essentially thinking about any person’s ability to use a product, regardless of age, gender, culture or language.

For example, smart glasses, while still in the early adopter phase, are becoming more popular with brands such as Ray-Ban launching fashionable ranges that no longer look like they belong on a set of Star Trek. Plus they’re equipped with technology that can be understood by even the least tech-savvy consumer, and allow users to make and receive calls, livestream on socials, listen to music and capture precious photos. Will they replace our phones in the future?

Ray-Ban smart glasses

Smart glasses can assist users with visual impairments, such as adjusting colours for users with colour blindness or providing text-to-speech capability for reading labels and other printed materials for anyone with low vision. People with mobility issues can see real-time information about accessible routes and facilities, as well as visualise and interact with digital maps and directions. Users who are hard of hearing can see translations and directions.

This tech will move over into sportswear, with distance runners, for example, able to easily see their splits and mile markers without taking their eyes away from the route.

Look out for innovation in healthcare. With mental health a key subject in our societies, keep a close eye on manufacturers using virtual and augmented reality to address social isolation, and look out for discreet ear buds that double as a heart rate monitor, removing bulky medical units worn around the wearer’s neck.


The AI issue is well-discussed on many platforms, particularly the potential risk to creative jobs. But as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I envision a world where AI doesn’t remove product design jobs but rather is used as a tool to help designers learn about users to further improve future designs. Some examples include learning thermostats that have revolutionised the way we consume energy at home, self-driving cars and customer service chat bots.

Google Home Mini

Our homes are (normally) our biggest investment, so companies are responding with a wave of new AI enabled smart tech to help us customise our homes. Top trends are energy efficiency and automation to help homeowners save time and money, whilst also thinking about security and wellbeing. It’s estimated that 19% of US householders now own a smart appliance (fridge, washing machine, dishwasher…) and this number will only continue to rise as AI improves its learning into how we use products to optimise its function.

We’re excited to see what technology emerges from this year’s CES, and we’ll look forward to discovering products designed for a better world.

3D printing

Future Trends: Explore the Exciting Innovations of 3D Printing Technology

Additive manufacturing, known more commonly as 3D printing, has been in existence since the 1980s, but it’s only in recent years that it’s become a household word. It’s still an emerging technology, although we are now entering a period of sustained growth as more companies turn to 3D printing.

3D printing is now commonplace in manufacturing

In the product development industry, the use of 3D printers, or rapid prototyping machines, has revolutionised how we create prototypes. It provides a cost-effective and quick solution and enables us to quickly test whether a design will work in reality, or not.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, 3D printing was used reactively, a short term solution. But now many companies are adopting a more strategic approach, they see the long-term benefits, and that temporary fix has shifted the mindset. 3D printing has assisted in the digitalisation of manufacturing – by simply sending a file the process becomes decentralised and more flexible. Something that incredibly important during Covid-19 – mitigating supply chain risks, reducing the reliance on manual labour and reducing manufacturing costs. In 2022, the global 3D printing market size was valued at 18.33 USD billion and it is projected to grow to 83.90 USD billion by 2029, exhibiting a annual growth rate of 24.3%.

Moreover, our current global insecurities, from the climate crisis, supply chain issues and impending recessions, can be alleviated somewhat by 3D printing, so it’s likely that more and more businesses will turn to 3D printing. Complex designs that could previously only be manufactured at great expense can now produced by 3D printers, which supports the ongoing acceptance and integration of 3D printing into mainstream manufacturing.

It was recently announced that the first piece of cheesecake has been 3D printed – so does this spell the end for bakers and chefs? Well judging by the look of these two slices, it’s safe to say their jobs are secure for now!

3D printed cheesecake

But cheesecake isn’t the only food being produced this way. 3D printed steaks have been hitting the headlines for a couple of years.

But aside from food, what are the likely future trends for 3D Printing across other industries?

3D Printing in Manufacturing

As already highlighted, one area where 3D printing is already making significant impact is within manufacturing. As product developers, we use 3D printing for many of our clients. It enables us to create prototypes quickly and cheaply. It speeds up the design process as we can instantly see any design flaws and make the necessary amends.

3D printing also allows for the creation of complex and intricate designs that would be difficult or too expensive to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. This has the potential to significantly reduce the cost and time required to bring new products to market.

Medicine and Health Care

In the medical field, 3D printing is already being used to create custom implants, prosthetics, and even human tissue. It is being used for orthopaedics, dental and surgical instrumentation. Medical device manufacturers are creating patient-specific implants from metals and polymers that are customised to the shape of individual bones. Many hospitals now have their own 3D printing facilities to tighten supply chains and ultimately provide better patient care.

3D printing in medical industry

As the technology advances, it may be possible to use 3D printing to create entire organs for transplant, eliminating the need for organ donors and reducing the risk of rejection. Some companies are already bioprinting human tissue for drug treatments, which may eliminate the need for animal testing in future.


In the construction industry, 3D printing is being used to create buildings and structures using a process called “contour crafting”, and in fact entire towns are being 3D printed. This process allows for the creation of complex structures with a high degree of precision, and it has the potential to significantly reduce the cost and time required for construction projects which could revolutionise the house building industry globally, particularly in developing countries.

Personalised Consumer Goods

The trend for personalised goods has been on the increase for the last few years, and this has resulted in manufacturers utilising 3D print technology to help meet the demand. The products created range from customised footwear, moulded to the shape of the individual’s foot, or orthotics, which help alleviate foot pain. Other sporting goods such as goggles and glasses, for skiing and squash for example, or even golf clubs moulded to the person’s hand.

3D printing can be used in golf

Space Exploration

Another area where 3D printing is making strides is in space exploration. NASA is already using 3D printing to create spare parts and tools on the International Space Station, and is even creating a Mars habitat using 3D printing to simulate what life on Mars might be like. In the future, 3D printing could be used to create habitats and other structures on other planets.

What’s next for 3D printing?

Looking to the future, one of the most exciting prospects for 3D printing is the development of new materials. As new materials are developed specifically for 3D printing, it will become possible to create even more complex structures and objects. Metal will continue to gain traction within the rapid prototyping world, as will the ability to print with multiple materials in a single build, which will allow us to produce more complex and functional parts and open up exciting new possibilities in manufacturing.

3D printing

Additionally, advances in software and hardware will continue to improve the speed and accuracy of the printing process, making it more accessible and affordable.

Injection moulding will be ever present in high volume manufacture, until 3D printing speed increases, however, for one off prototypes or bespoke items, 3D printing will always win as it’s not reliant on tooling. And with the adoption of more exotic filled and blended polymers the gap between injection moulding and 3D printing is closing rapidly.

Key takeaways

  • The future of 3D printing is incredibly promising and exciting.
  • The technology continue to transform industries and change the way we approach manufacturing, medicine, and construction along with other industries like space exploration.
  • 3D printing will continue to tighten supply chains, reduce tooling costs and enable flexible working.
  • The development of new printing materials and technology will continue to improve the speed, accuracy and quality of prints.

If your business is ready to explore 3D printing, please get in touch with our prototyping specialists.

How is AI changing the product design industry?

Bill Gates has called it “the most important technological advance in decades” but how is Artificial Intelligence (AI) going to impact our industry of product design?

AI is undoubtedly a hot topic at the moment, not a day goes past without a potential horror story in the media – whether that AI machines are going to take over, or that middle class workers’ jobs are under threat, or the risk of fake news, like Donald Trump’s arrest depicted in AI-generated images, which then went viral on social media.

AI generated photos of Donald Trump being arrested - as shown on Twitter

Open AI, which owns ChatGPT, has estimated that 80% of jobs could be impacted by AI, but how worried should the design industry really be? Are these just scare stories, or will jobs seriously be at risk? And how can we use AI to improve the product design industry?

Artificial Intelligence has already had a significant impact on many industries, including tech, marketing and PR, and the product design industry is no exception. AI-powered technologies are starting to transform the way products are designed and manufactured. AI is enabling designers to create better products in a shorter period, while also providing valuable insights that were previously unavailable.

Generative Design

One of the most significant ways AI is changing the product design industry is through the use of generative design. Not to be confused with generative design in engineering, generative design using AI is a technique where designers input design parameters into an AI system, which then creates a range of possible design solutions based on the given constraints. It enables designers to explore many more design options than they could manually, and in a shorter space of time too. It can also provide them with data-driven insights about the design. The result is more efficient and effective product designs.

As an experiment, we created this image using AI with the prompt “sports bottle, grenade, bidon”. Yes it’s a cool looking image, but there is relatively little other than the aesthetics that you can take from it, but potentially with different prompts it could start to produce some real world products.

AI generated product design

But of course, these are concepts, it will still require human input to produce the design and ensure it will work in real life.

Predictive Modelling

Another way AI is transforming product design is through the use of predictive modelling. Predictive modelling uses machine learning algorithms to analyse data and predict future trends. This helps designers to create products that are more aligned with customer needs and preferences. For example, AI can analyse data on customer behaviour and preferences to identify design features that are likely to be popular.

This is certainly interesting, as ensuring there is a market for a product is something that we always build into our projects.

Testing and Validation

AI is also making product testing and validation easier and more efficient. Traditionally, product testing has been a time-consuming and costly process. However, AI-powered simulations can now test product performance under different conditions, helping designers to identify potential problems and make improvements before a product goes into production.

Again, this element of AI could speed up projects and reduce costs, but it is an area that we would undertake with caution because real world testing often highlights issues that even Finite Element Analysis. Think about Formula One cars; they go through rigorous virtual testing processes within different simulators and wind tunnels. But then a person sits in the car and drives it and all of a sudden there are issues that need to be fixed.


Finally, AI is enabling designers to create more personalised products. AI-powered algorithms can analyse data on customer preferences and behaviours to create products that are tailored to individual needs. This can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, as customers are more likely to be satisfied with a product that is designed specifically for them. Here we see some value, particularly within the medical sector when thinking about protheses.

Our view

The way we see AI impacting us as a consultancy, and the wider product industry as a whole, is that AI will become an integral part of the product design process, but will be used as a tool rather than a replacement for product designers. Its value is more in aesthetics than it will be in problem solving difficult design decision or coming up with new ideas for how a product functions. This still requires years of education and expertise. 

AI will add value in mood board creation and generating colourways for products, and in some instances general style direction. 

But AI will always require input from humans to function, it cannot think for itself (for now, anyway!) so it will always be reliant on an instruction and must abide by any rules put in place by programmers.

Simon Cornelius

In conclusion, AI is here and it’s here to stay. It’s transforming the product design industry by enabling designers to create better products in less time, providing valuable insights, and allowing for more personalised products. As AI continues to evolve, we can expect even more changes and improvements in the product design process. We think the future of a combined AI and human product design industry is very exciting.

AI is undoubtedly fast, efficient and exciting, but it can’t replace human experience. Our team have experimented with some AI tools, and the results have been interesting so far. We are yet to use AI on a live project, but we imagine that day is coming soon.

We view AI as a modern tool that will help speed us the product design process, rather than take over completely. Similar to how we use washing machines now, rather than hand washing clothes, it’s a tool to help us. Throughout history humans have created machines that benefit our lives, and AI is no exception.

Key takeaways

  • Artificial Intelligence has arrived and it is here to stay.
  • The product design industry is already seeing changes from AI through Generative Design, Predictive Modelling, Testing and Validation and Personalisation.
  • AI has the potential to transform the product design industry to create better products in less time, meaning output could be significantly increased.
  • We predict that AI will never fully replace humans, but instead will be a tool to make us work smarter.

We’re running an exciting AI experiment soon, which we will update on here once completed. In the meantime, if you’d like some human input into your next product development project, please get in touch with our design experts.

Guide to using CGI for Ecommerce websites

Discover our best-practice advice when it comes to selecting images for an ecommerce website from our CGI experts.

This post will cover all aspects of ecommerce CGI images from: what is CGI, to why CGI can be a good option for ecommerce sites, to how to be efficient when using CGI, as well as pros and cons vs using traditional photography for ecommerce product websites.

What is CGI?

CGI stands for Computer Generated Images, which essentially means what it says on the tin: they’re images generated using a computer. We use professional CGI software called KeyShot to create our images – it’s one of the most powerful and accurate CGI software programmes available.

You’ll probably have heard of CGI being used in video gaming, movies and advertising.

But many product images are now CGI because companies have recognised that there are many benefits to choosing CGI over photography. It is also common for retailers to use a hybrid of CGI and photography.

What defines an ecommerce website?

Ecommerce (electronic commerce) websites are exactly that: websites that allow customers to buy (and sell) goods and services via the internet, rather than at a physical location. A business can use an ecommerce website to process orders, accept payments via different methods, manage shipping and provide customer service. Some social media platforms have now become ecommerce platforms too, adding ecommerce functionality for their users to buy and sell. Today, it is expected that most retailers should have an online store presence of some description, whether it is their own ecommerce website or via a social network.

Buying and selling is not new, of course, but ecommerce has made it easier and a preferred way to shop for many customers. In fact, the total ecommerce revenue generated in the UK in 2019 was £693 billion, a massive 40% increase since 2015, and ecommerce now accounts for 16.5% of total business turnover.

Websites are no longer a “nice to have” for businesses. In 2019, 81.4% of businesses with 10-49 employees had a website, while 96.9% of businesses with 1000 of more employees had a website (seriously, what are the remaining 3.1% doing?)

So, it’s clear that customers love to shop online, buying everything from clothes to garden equipment, their weekly food shop, sofas, cars and even holidays. The home buying market has even started to move fully online (yes, really), with virtual tours boosted by the pandemic.

Consumer confidence in buying online has increased massively in recent years, again drive recently by the pandemic, as well as the increase in smart devices including mobile phones and home devices such as Amazon Alexa.

And yes, while we love to buy online, retailers need to make sure the products they are selling best address their target audience’s needs and challenges; something that only be achieved through comprehensive market research.

And once they’ve made sure they have the perfect products to sell, it’s important for website developers to continue to come up with solutions to improve their customers’ shopping experiences.

There are certain best practices when it comes to selling products online.

One of the essential elements to a good ecommerce website is images. You simply cannot sell a product without good quality images. Images bring a product to life.

Images help a user decide whether a product is suitable or not, for example – do they like the look of it? Does it suit their style? How do they feel when they look at it? Does it complement other products they own?

CGI of pendant lights

Product images need to be high quality (without slowing the website down) and show the product from different angles.

There are different types of images that can be used to showcase a product online:

  • Cut out images – showing the product on a plain background to emphasis the product and its features
  • Lifestyle images – showing the product against a background setting, such as a home interior shot or outdoors landscape
  • Action images – showing the product being used in some way
  • 360 spin images – a more recent edition to online images, which allow the customer to rotate the product 360 degrees to see the entire product.
  • Videos – not technically an image, but the use of video, showing a product working or being used, is becoming a prerequisite for online shopping.
  • Customisation options – if the product is available in different colours or materials, for example, the user can select from swatch buttons to change the customisation options of the product displayed.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) – the next evolution in ecommerce imagery. An innovative way to show the product in a real-life setting, such as your home (e.g. imagine being able to see a fridge in your actual kitchen before buying it, or check whether a pushchair will fit in the boot of your car).
  • User Generated Content – many e-retailers now encourage customers to upload images of a product they’ve purchased being used. Not only does this increase engagement and loyalty with current customers, but also instils trust for new customers who are more likely to buy after seeing others with the same product.

How can CGI be used to enhance ecommerce websites?

So, how can CGI be used by retailers wanting to sell online, and is it a good option?

Some of the image types described above, such as 360 spin and AR, can only be created using CGI, but for cut out, lifestyle and action shots, retailers can choose between CGI and photography. So we need to compare CGI and photography to address the pros and cons of each.

While CGI will never completely replace photography, the capabilities of CGI software have advanced enormously over recent years, meaning that images are now incredibly photorealistic and a very credible source of product imagery.

CGI also tends to be quicker and more cost efficient that photography. It can be time consuming and expensive to set up photoshoots.

Where CGI really comes into its own is with customisation. If a product is available in 20 colours, for example, photographing 20 different versions may take a long time. Multiple this by a few different products and the costs will quickly escalate. Whereas with CGI, once the first scene has been set up it is very quick to replicate for different colours.

It is also easier to create unusual angles with CGI, whereas a photographer will need jigs to hold the product in place and will then require more time in post-editing.

iPhone Case

So, CGI can be much more efficient, producing more images in a shorter space of time.

This is very important for ecommerce websites which may have thousands of different products, each available in various options.

Remember what we said earlier: to give customers the best possible shopping experience, a website should show all different options. Only showing some of the available colours or materials for example, will cause frustration for some customers, negatively impact their experience.

We also mentioned hybrid CGI earlier – this is a blend of photography and CGI. So for example, using CGI of a product placed within a real photograph. This gives the effect of a “real” photograph but circumnavigates any logistics or cost issues presented by taking the photography on location.

Pre-order: the beauty of CGI: One area that CGI excels at is using it for products that are not yet manufactured. Being able to create an image of a product that doesn’t currently exist means that pre-orders can be generated before manufacture, generating revenue before the product has even been launched.

Are there any downsides to CGI?

One area that can be problematic is colour matching, however, this can be an issue whether the image is a photograph or CGI – it can depend on a customer’s device as well as the settings.

For large amount purchases, such as a sofa, many retailers allow customers to order physical swatches to be mailed out – so this gets around any colour discrepancies.

One of the biggest drawbacks of online shopping is not being able to touch, feel and try a product, and while this is an issue for both photography and CGI, there are ways that sellers can try to circumnavigate this issue:

  • It’s important to increase customer confidence in the product before buying – 51% of shoppers believe the biggest drawback of online shopping is not being able to touch a product before buying. Customer reviews, tutorials and demonstrations, faith in the brand, excellent customer services and reassurance when it comes to returns and refunds will all help provide trust.
  • But good images, and specifically 360 spin images, AR images, user generated content all help to foster trust with customers. Although these images don’t allow customers to touch and feel the product, they enable them to view the entire product, interact with it online and see it in their home before purchasing.
  • AR technology is still evolving, but it is becoming more commonplace with ecommerce retailers and it’s estimated there will be 1.7 billion AR users by 2024. One way that make up brands are using AR is by enabling customers to “try on” their make up using virtual try-on technology.

Augmented Reality

Key takeaways

The evolution of the partnership between CGI and ecommerce websites is exciting, and the possibilities for product imagery are endless.

  • Consumer confidence in buying online is growing, but good quality images can help to win trust.
  • No longer are standard cut out images enough on their own – customers expect 3D spin images, user generated content as well as video and even augmented reality.
  • Nothing can replace a real photograph, but CGI is a suitable option for companies that want photorealistic images at a fraction of the cost.
  • CGI is an effective tool for pre-orders campaigns, generating revenue before a product has even been manufactured.
  • Customisation is an area where retailers can save costs by using CGI.
  • The most important thing is to enhance the shopping experience for the customer. Anything that doesn’t improve their experience shouldn’t be implemented.

If you’re excited about exploring the idea of CGI on an ecommerce website please get in touch with our CGI experts.

Key takeaways from CES 2022

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the most influential consumer products shows in the world, showcasing the newest technology used in physical as well digital products.

Held every January in Las Vegas, this year saw a return to an in-person event after being paused for 2021. As product specialists, we are always intrigued to see what new technologies and products are featured at CES each year, so here are our key takeaways from #CES2022:

1. Robotics

Robotics played a massive part in this year’s show. Everything from fully humanised service robots to assist people at the airport or supermarket.

Through to cute robot animals that nibble your fingers for pleasure (whatever floats your boat!)

Ameca Humanoid Robot

Our thoughts:

Robotics technology will start to be used more frequently, particularly in applications that are dangerous for humans, such as firefighting, conflict areas and perhaps even to avoid spread of viruses in future.

2. Invisible technology: colour changing cars

Undoubtedly stealing this year’s show, BMW’s E Ink is essentially an invisible layer of technology that can change the colour of the car from white to black, as well as add patterns.

Invisible technology has been emerging as a concept for the last few years. Automated and customised products are rapidly becoming more popular (we only have to look at home automated products to realise how ingrained they have become in everyday life), and now BMW have taken it one step further with E Ink colour changing technology.

BMW E Ink colour changing car

Our thoughts:

We see this technology moving beyond simply changing a car’s appearance. It could also signal warnings to other road users, such as an accident or hazard ahead, or perhaps even highlight if a car has been stolen. In terms of customisation, your car could develop a personality linked to wearable tech, so that if perhaps stress increases your heart rate, the car could calm you by changing to a soothing colour or giving you an uplifting message, for example.

3. Invisible technology: smart audio

Following on the hidden technology theme at CES is a smart audio device which is like wearing a pair of invisible headphones. Noveto has developed the Soundbeamer 1.0 sound bar that uses facial recognition to target projected sound to the area just in front of your ears. You get a fully immersive sound experience while others around you will only hear a whisper.

Noveto’s “invisible headphones”

Our thoughts:

We think this technology would be fantastic for long haul flights, eliminating the need for throwaway or reusable headphones, as well as in office spaces where Zoom calls are the new normal. 

4. Stylish wearable tech

Smart ring technology has been around for a few years, but at a considerably high price point. The Movano smart ring aims to undercut the price of its main competitors, including market leader Oura. The ring will gather and provide accurate data on customers health metrics including sleep monitoring, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration levels, temperature, blood oxygen readings, step count, and calories burned. What’s more, the ring will make suggestions to improve a user’s quality of life; perhaps suggesting that your heart rate increased after drinking a few glasses of wine.

Movano smart ring

Our thoughts:

While health monitoring has been dominated by smart watches, we believe smart rings may overtake watches in the wearable tech space. The discrete nature of a ring means its more versatile and is easier to match with any attire. A smart watch doesn’t always provide the right “look” when going to a business meeting, for example, and if the watch isn’t being worn no health data is being collected.

What did you think of CES 2022? What products stood out most for you?

The Future of Design: Sustainably Designed Products

As the world becomes more aware of the impact of human activity on the environment, sustainable design is becoming increasingly important. Sustainably designed products are those that are created with the goal of minimising their environmental impact, from the materials used to the manufacturing process. In this article, we’ll explore how these products are changing the game and making a positive impact on the environment.

What are consumers looking for when they buy a product? Quality, convenience and cost are three major factors that they consider.

Over the past few years another consideration has been added to the list – today’s consumers want to purchase products that are sustainably designed. With this in mind, companies are now increasingly reinventing how they design their services and products, putting sustainability at the forefront of everything they do.

Sustainability is changing mindsets

Over the last decade, conversations have been taking place about climate change and its impact on the planet at the highest level.

The media is full of stories about the effects of global warming, so consumers are becoming highly aware of why they need to adopt a more sustainable approach to living. So much so, in fact, that customers will pay more for a product that is sustainably produced, and using eco-friendly products has been revealed in studies to make consumers happier when using the product.

With an increased demand for sustainable products companies are, understandably, responding by transforming their processes to be more environmentally conscious. Not only does it appeal to their target market, it also helps to meet their own sustainability goals (and any targets set by government), as well as benefitting the planet. It’s win-win-win.

Single-use plastics have become a hot topic once again throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with the exponential increase in demand for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), particularly disposable masks and gloves. It seems our awareness around problematic ocean plastics has perhaps been neglected, overtaken by a necessity to protect ourselves from Coronavirus. And while plenty of brands have jumped on the PPE-wagon with branded merchandise available everywhere, the impact of single use PPE products over the course of the pandemic can’t be denied.

Photo credit: Unsplash

How Can Companies Make Their Products More Sustainable?

When it comes to product development, assessing the lifecycle of products is key. From the raw materials used in production, through to its end-of-life scenario, assessing possible alternatives to minimise waste and energy usage at every stage has never been more important.

Many companies are now asking product design companies to develop ways of making products componentised so that, in the instance they can’t be refurbished or recycled at end of life, they can be deconstructed to make alternative products from the components.

This is an important step for those of us working in product development to take. In the past when working for manufacturers we’ve witnessed huge amounts of product wastage on far too many occasions – perfectly good products that could’ve been refurbished, but instead were consigned to landfill.

It’s heart-breaking and completely unnecessary, and it’s our responsibility as innovators to implement a change.

Lego recently announced they have produced their first brick prototypes using 100% recycled plastic. Important? Absolutely, but perhaps far too late for a global company like Lego to have only taken this step in 2021. What has taken them so long?

Lego bricks
Photo credit: Unsplash

Why Are Sustainably Designed Products So Important?

As an industrial design company, our focus on product development is always a sustainable one. A primary goal of our business is to limit the negative impact that we have on our planet, and to this end, we strive to ensure each and every product that we develop is developed sustainably.

Boxed water
Sustainable boxed water

We recently designed a range of eco-friendly packaging for a new wellness tea brand, PUR-E-TEA. The company’s values are centred around the planet and wellbeing, so one of the main requirements from the client was for the packaging to be as sustainable as possible. For us, looking for sustainable options is a prerequisite anyway, but it’s satisfying to work with clients that have the same values as us. We designed a slimline box to reduce the amount of material needed (whilst also saving on cost), and used chemical-free ink for the artwork. We limited the amount of plastics used within the packaging, and any that were necessary were 100% biodegradable.

Sustainably designed tea packaging
PUR-E-TEA sustainable packaging

Not only do we seek out eco-conscious materials and adopt sustainable manufacturing methods for use in the products we work on, but we have also introduced environmentally sound changes to our business practices, including going paper free as much as possible. All of our product sketches are now made on graphics tablets instead of paper. We use the XP-Pen Artist 13.3 pro for all sketches, which we’ve found works perfectly for our needs, and during video calls while screen sharing we are able to sketch ideas and concepts to allow clients to visualise their product being designed live while we speak! Another way we try to be sustainably conscious is to seek out local suppliers whenever possible to reduce the distance products need to travel. We also encourage video calls with clients, and if face-to-face meetings are necessary, then we look to use public transport wherever possible. Simon also rides his bike to the office most days!

We are working hard to minimise our carbon footprint in line with the latest best practice within the product development industry, and to do our bit to protect our planet for future generations.

What our clients say.

  • "They were able to deliver an outstanding solution to a challenging brief"

    "I gave the team at Cornelius Creative a challenging brief, and they were able to deliver an outstanding solution, but more importantly did so a highly professional and efficient manner. I would certainly recommend them for any product design or marketing briefs you have. It was a pleasure working with them."

    Anand G, Hansgrohe
  • "Their interest, passion and care makes them feel part of your team"

    "Simon and the team at Cornelius Creative are fantastic. Their interest, passion and care makes them feel part of your team. They have a wealth of experience which was clear in our project and critical to the successful design. Simon was critical in the brain storming all aspects of design and functionality. Cornelius Creative always make time for you and are extremely approachable and helpful to talk through any aspect of the design. Cornelius Creative have a passion for delivering high quality designs, which is clear in our project. SailAI would highly recommend Cornelius Creative for any creative design projects, and hopefully we will be working together again in the future."

    Ben P, SailAI
  • "I liked their collaborative approach and commitment to getting the project done on time"

    "I worked with Cornelius Creative on a product launch for which they produced CGIs and product renders. It was a smooth process, I liked their collaborative approach and commitment to getting the project done on time and on brief. Very happy with the results and I'll surely work with them again!"

    Ernest O, Furnitubes Ltd
  • “They were able to look at my business as a whole and refresh my brand"

    I approached Cornelius Creative to help with my business branding, which had got a bit stale. They were able to look at my business as a whole and refresh my brand to make it more appealing to my customers. They made huge improvements to my logo and visuals as well as my messaging to make it more appealing. My brand is more recognisable now and I couldn't be happier with the result. I'd definitely work with Cornelius Creative again.
    Robert H, MKBS
  • “What an effortless transaction… Cornelius Creative exceeded all my expectations”

    What an effortless transaction. I had been putting off getting my patent drawing done as thought it was going to be a long and arduous job but Cornelius Creative exceeded all my expectations. A straightforward process, knew exactly what I needed and quick turnaround with less then 48 hours! Communication was 2nd to none.... I will 100% be contacting Cornelius Creative again for future projects. Thank you!
    Charlene D, Untainted
  • “We can’t wait to work with them again!”

    Glowpear has had the pleasure of dealing with Cornelius Creative on design, marketing and strategy. They are highly recommended, with the drive to succeed at a high level, amazing results, and a personal touch when dealing with us. We can't wait to work with them again!
    Simon L, Glowpear
  • “They exceeded all expectations. Their creativity and attention to detail is second to none”

    Cornelius Creative made a great impression from the onset. They were tasked to design a concept which was very different from the status quo and they exceeded all expectations. Their creativity and attention to detail is second to none.
    Steve C, Uthos

    Who we've
    worked with


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    Cornelius Creative

    45 Manor Forstal
    New Ash Green
    DA3 8JG

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