Innovation School Product Design

Sean Smyth (He/Him)

I am a designer who is fascinated by human-centric design and different cultural behaviors and exchanges. I find interacting with real people during the research process of any project the most stimulating and inspiring. It is also essential for all designers to create with the intent to generate products which are sustainable but also regenerative.

Back to Basics


Although equal by law, there are still barriers between queer people, and those who fit within heteronormative constructs. Having personal experience with this issue and bearing witness to the problems associated to this inequality, I firmly believe the ability to have open, honest and constructive conversation is the most powerful tool we have for developing newfound allyship.

This project explores queer spaces in Glasgow, identifying key stakeholders involved; both those who identify as queer as well as those who don’t. The approach I took always remained focused on the affected individuals. By issuing online surveys and hosting interviews, I was able to obtain a large scope of insights and put them into practice to make the outcome as effective as possible.

Upon evaluating the data, I was able to define the design opportunities and target the ones which had the most potential to do good. I found this to have the ability to listen to individual experiences and stories, generating some element of empathy, which would then lead to meaningful conversations about issues which do not necessarily affect you.

‘Queery’ is a socially driven design which aspires to break down the barriers between heteronormative and queer societies, allowing them to have a more unified existence. This designed experience consists of a photobook which tells the stories of real people in Glasgow, with complimentary conversation cards, prompting constructive dialogue about the issues addressed in the book. This allows people to express their ‘unpopular opinions’ in a judgement free space – allowing these suppressive perspectives to be addressed.

Users interacting with conversation cards

User Journey SI

Cards included in Product

Expressing the Suppression

Exploring the theme of expressing what society suppresses through the medium of fashion

Back to Basics

In the UK, most people consume more calories than the government suggests. Whether it be as a result of convenience or an inability to prepare nutritionally balanced foods, the consumption of too much sugar, unhealthy fats and salt is staggering. Often this is down to the general public being unable to comprehend the nutritional information often found on products. The traffic light system on a product to indicate its nutritional value is a great way to allow people to easily understand the ‘healthiness’ of a product, although, it has been argued it is a mere interpretation of the quality.

Working closely with experts in a variety of fields falling under the umbrella of ‘health’ was extremely helpful and insightful which in turn drove the outcome of this project.

I found that due to the nature of drawing attention to calories, it can lead to obsession over how many one consumes, and this then overshadows the quality of the food or drink. For example, eating something less calorific but nutritionally weak, is likely to be the preferred choice to something high calorie whilst being highly nutritious.

‘Back 2 Basics’ is a middle ground and sustainable alternative to the current food packaging, it keeps the simplistic colour-coding system but eliminates the numerical values. Although speculative, I predict in the year 2032 obsessive calorie counting being a real epidemic mostly brought on by the unrealistic beauty standards found on the likes of social media.


FE Dev Model

Desk Exhibit