How to start designing without needing loads of *stuff*

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In this modern world of stuff and things we can become convinced that we need gizmos, gadgets and apps just to get out of bed in the morning and this applies to design as well. We don’t want anything to get in the way of a good idea getting out into the world. That’s why we asked The Design and Technology Association (D&TA) and a couple of teachers, Matt and Michael, about what you really need to get going with designs that could and just might, change the world. So step away from the pricey software subscription, here’s what they said.


You probably already have everything you really need


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Do you have a pen or pencil and some paper? Then YOU, can be a designer. Tony from the D&TA says: “It’s often perceived that you need all this techy stuff around you in order to do design, you don't! You can do it with the bare basics around you, the main thing you need is imagination.” 


Cardboard can be creative



Whether it’s from online shopping or found around the back of Tesco, cardboard can make design dreams come to life. If you don’t have any at home, take a walk and see if you can spot any in your local area. But remember, make sure to check it’s OK to take before you nab it for your next invention… Ryan from the D&TA says: “If you were to take a look behind the scenes of most design companies, you’ll find cardboard models and scruffy sketches everywhere. Architects are famous for napkin sketches and lots of big companies won’t let their designers go anywhere near a CAD (Computer-aided design) programme until they’ve modelled it themselves.”

In case we haven’t sung the praises about cardboard enough, check out the cardboard tutorials you can find on YouTube which are most excellent.


TikTak or whatever it’s called?

Obviously, the teachers didn’t really know what this was but what they do know is it’s packed with creative ideas and tutorials to spark ideas. Design and technology teacher Michael says,“Dare I say it, and I’m not going to pretend to know what it is but on TikTok you can see people doing really quick tutorials and pulling things together”. Search #DesignTikTok for more inspiration.


The internet and a man called Jude

As we know, the internet can be a scary place but it can also provide a wealth of tutorials and guides to get you started with designing the next Shard or Dyson hoover. If you use your time wisely and stay focused on what you want to achieve, you’ll soon be overtaking the front room with your creations. James recommended the Instructables, The Small Peice Trust and Jude Pullen’s YouTube channel as great places to start.


Look to the cloud…

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You don’t make money by spending money - FACT. So free cloud-based software is going to be your friend. It means you can design at home, at school or on the loo without the need for a supercomputer. Design and technology teacher Matt recommends Pixlr for graphic design, Photopea for photo editing and for a more pro design experience try Onshape.


A material which can be made from store cupboard essentials 



A really important thing to remember is that you’re most likely to try things which are a) easy and b) fun and playdough is a really simple way to start testing 3D ideas which you can then destroy in a dramatic way when they start to get annoying (if only other things in life were so straightforward, sigh). It’s cheap to buy or you can even make it yourself at home. “It’s pennies to buy, but what you’re able to do with it is really clever,” says Matt.

So what are you waiting for? Submit your design idea for the next hit collectable toy range as part of our latest Untitled brief, in partnership with Mojo Nation and the The Design and Technology Association.


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