Product Design Alumni Talks 2022

Ben Russi: Lead Design Engineer, Dyson 

Teesside Product Design Graduate, Ben Russi will be giving a special guest lecture about his career to date.

Ben studied Product Design from 2009 – 2012.   During his time at Teesside, Ben undertook live projects for Nifco UK Ltd (Tees Valley) and Willerby Holiday Homes (Hull) which helped him to build the technical portfolio needed to successfully apply to Dyson.   Ben graduated from Teesside with a 1st class honors degree, going on to study for a Masters in Design Management.

On graduating, Ben went through a rigorous selection procedure and secured a position with the renowned manufacturer Dyson as a Design Engineer, where he has been for the last 8 years. Ben is now Lead Design Engineer.

Ben’s lecture will take us on a journey from graduation and subsequently gaining employment with a leading, innovative, design lead manufacturer.  Ben will also be discussing Dyson’s design philosophy and the exciting projects he has worked on over the years


Tees Made in London


Last week, in the sweltering heat of London, students from Product Design exhibited their final project work at the New Designers Exhibition in Islington.


Funding for the exhibition was raised by the students through organized events, ‘live’ projects and through sponsorship.


New Designers takes place every year at the Business Design Centre which was once the Royal Horticultural Hall. Over 3.500 graduates exhibited from institutes all across the UK.

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New Designers allows students to showcase their work alongside fellow graduates from across the UK with the aim of getting themselves noticed and that first foot on the ladder, which will help shape their future.

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It was a great week with lots of interest from both the Industry and potential employers. We also welcomed a lot of ex-students onto the stand who had come along specifically to catch up and to meet the current graduates.



Pack it in!!


2nd year students Callum Brookbanks  and Lewis White have won silver and bronze star awards, respectively, in the Institute of Materials Student Starpack Packaging awards.

Callum’s entry for a squeezable butter pack with patterned nozzle won silver.



Lewis’ design for a pack that accurately dispenses the right amount of milk formula every time won bronze.



Callum and Lewis will be attending the award ceremony at the National Space Centre, Leicester, in September.

2014 Leavers Show Their Talents in London New Designers Exhibition


This years cohort of graduate product design leavers are currently showing their skills and final projects in the London’s biggest graduate design show called New Designers. Students show off their projects and portfolios in the hope that they will be ‘talent-spotted’ by businesses and consultancies who visit the show. Every year Teesside University showcase its graduates at this event and is always successful in gaining placements and jobs for students. Good luck every one!!!!tmp_image-72040435755



A ‘Thor’oughly Good Day

Teesside Alumni and Product Design graduate Dan Walker returned today to spend a full day with our Product Design students. In the morning he delivered a sessional Masterclass on sketching, hand rendering, digital illustration and ‘photo bashing’. This was followed by an inspirational talk about his enviable career to date. Dan is an all round product designer whose work has involved both product and automotive design for many of industry’s biggest names but, he has spent the last 10 years heavily immersed, as a concept artist, for the some of the biggest franchises in TV and Film.

His prolific work to date includes:

  • Doctor Who
  • Torchwood
  • Primeval
  • Batman Begins
  • Doom
  • Watchmen
  • The Golden Compass
  • The Dark Knight
  • Kick-Ass
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Wrath of the Titans
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

After his talk, he spent the afternoon in the studio with our students.

Dan has always had a close relationship with Product Design at Teesside and it is always fantastic to welcome him back.




Ich bin ein Berliner…

Last week 1st and 2nd year Product Design students could be found in the German capital, Berlin. The main part of the study visit was a day trip to the truly wonderful VW Autostadt in Wolfsburg, probably the world’s first automobile theme park, with its beautifully designed pavilions and of course the cars.


Other visits included the Reichstag, with the large glass dome designed by British Architect Norman Foster, the Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design, with its extensive collection art pieces relating to one of the most influential art and design schools of the 20th century and the magnificent 368m tall Fernsehturm Tower with its incredible views of the whole city.

DSCF0437 DSCF0486 P1100323 Overall it was an excellent few days with lots to see and do. Watch out for more posts from the trip.P1100460

Tom’s Magic Tips


Teesside ex-student, Tom Crisp, now Design Director at Design Partners in San Fransisco, came back to Teesside last week and wowed Product Design Students with a bundle of stories about life as a designer.

As well as showing his award winning portfolio of work he has done for Wacom ( Cintiq, Bamboo and Intuos), Heinz Ketchup (new squeezy bottle), Intel ( Mobile Metro), Villeroy and Boch, Logitech and Proctor and Gamble, he gave a talk entitled ‘Twenty Things I wish I could have told myself at University. Among his top tips for designers were ‘Make Things Constantly, Experiment and Have Fun‘, ‘Make Friends with Criticism’ and ‘Add Magic. Always’. Students were then treated to a master class in drawing and some feedback about an on-going sledge project.

Tom also invited students to submit their portfolios to him for the possibility of working for Design Partners as an intern. It was a truly inspirational day. Tom has promised to come back to share more of his wisdom next year. See more of Tom and teams work  at

‘Fun’ Raising

Yesterday 3rd year students had a great time fund raising for their exhibition at New Designers in July. This is the 1st of many activities to take place in the next few months.They have already raised money through sponsorship and ‘live’ projects. The exhibition talks place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. Click on the following link to find out more about the exhibition.

Fund Raising

Careers in Packaging Design

You may remember reading an earlier post about Abigail Holden.   Abi secured a Silver Award in this year’s Student Starpack Awards.   Well…, to update you on her progress…, Abi went on to develop a retail trolley packing system for her major project.   She exhibited this at the New Designers Exhibition in London during July and caught the eye of Tescos.   Subsequently she was invited to Tescos head office to present her concept.

These projects undoubtedly helped Abi secure her first job in the design profession.   Abi has joined international packaging company Chesapeake as a packaging designer, initially being based in Bradford.

Abi is joining another Teesside Alumni, Richard Turnock, a structural packaging designer who will be helping her to settle into her new role.   We, in Product Design have worked with Chesapeake for many years including through live student projects and Carol Hammond, Head of New Product Design (Pharmaceuticals) gave an inspirational talk at the university last year.   The packaging industry offers some great opportunities for design graduates.   It is sometimes an overlooked area when graduates are seeking employment but Design at Teesside has a long history of success in this area

We are so pleased that Chesapeake selected a “Teessider” for this new post and send Abi our very best wishes.    Don’t forget to keep in touch Abi! 



Wheelie good news from Jannicke

JannickeTeesside University Product Design graduate Jannicke Rogne, was part of a team that recently won a professional runner up award for social impact in the Core77 2013 Design Awards working for Norwegian organisation Design Without Borders.

Jannicke worked with her team in Guatemala designing and developing a pediatric wheelchair  customised to the needs of children in Guatemala, in partnership with Guatemalen charitable foundation Transiciones. Transiciones, who manufacture low cost wheelchairs for marginalised social groups, lacked a wheelchair targeted towards children in its product range. The needs of a Guatemalan users and the local challenges of poor infrastructure, availability of materials, production facilities, costs and ergonomics were taken into the design process.

The project was also aimed at transferring knowledge about design methodologies, to enable the highly skilled technicians at Transiciones to customise wheelchairs more efficiently and continue to design new models.

Jannicke, along with her team, returned to Teesside recently to give an inspiring and thought-provoking talk about the project and how they had changed people’s lives.

For more information click here: Norsk Form | About Design without borders

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Jannicke and the Transiciones technical team. Photographer Juan Carlos Noguera
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Photographer Juan Carlos Noguera
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Photographer Juan Carlos Noguera
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Photographer Juan Carlos Noguera
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Product launch. Photographer Juan Carlos Noguera
Synne Christiansen (project manager, Design without Borders) at last year’s Design without Borders – Creating Change exhibition in Oslo. Photographer Kjersti Gjems Vangberg