From exhibiting at New Designers in London and securing an internship at JMDA, Connor talks to us about his time at Aston and his passion for Product Design...

What motivated you to study Product Design?Connor_Marks_Awards

It was more of a coincidence, really. Originally, my interest was in pursuing design engineering at Aston. While exploring various universities, I considered both product design and mechanical engineering programs, aiming for something in between the two. Interestingly, I didn't meet the grade requirements for my initial choice. That turned out to be fortunate, as I received a call from the programme director who suggested product design as an alternative. I agreed to the idea and looking back, it was the best choice I could have made - I've grown to love product design!! 

Why did you choose Aston University? 

Aston University offered excellent resources for hands-on creation. The automobile construction in the CDIO program particularly captured my attention. Additionally, its proximity to my home meant I didn't need to relocate. Initially, I had considered moving, but I had a change of heart just before finalising my decision. Coincidentally, after learning that my friend was considering Aston as well, I attended an open day to explore the university.


How did you find Product Design at Aston different from other universities you looked at?


I loved the studio area that students have access to, the teaching quality of the course is great! The course has allowed me to collaborate with students from other fields which has been a positive impact on me personally, it's been brilliant to interact with other emerging designers and learn best practices- it's truly enriched the entire degree experience.


What did you submit at the Aston Inspired exhibition, and what did you learn from this experience?Connor_Marks_Graduation

I created a new type of Air Fryer designed with a focus on repairability and ease of maintenance, to extend the life of the product, thus reducing its impact on E-waste quantities. The problem of E-waste was the driving force of the project. 


You exhibited at the New Designers Competition in London, what did you gain from this experience?

This was my highlight at Aston University!

Only a small group of students are invited to present their projects at The New Designers competition in London. This experience held great significance for me, as it offered the opportunity to observe fellow students from various universities and explore their submitted projects. I gained good practice from exhibiting at the  New Designers London, I was given a platform to present my work to complete strangers in an engaging and confident way. I also gained some valuable feedback, overall it was a very rewarding experience. 

I was lucky to win the Kenwood runner-up prize, for excellence and received a DCA Lovetag!

I had an amazing time meeting and talking to other students from around the country, alongside networking with many industry professionals. 

What are your plans after graduation?Connor_Marks_London

I've managed to secure an internship at JMDA as an Industrial Design consultant, I will be using all of the skills I've gained at Aston in my current role. 


What advice would you give to students that are thinking about studying Product Design at Aston?

If you're looking to study Product Design at Aston - I'd say go for it! The teaching here is great, and it really unlocked a passion for me that I didn't know was there!