60 second interview: Mark Sanders – MAS Design Products, Windsor UK

1263 0

Mark Sanders is managing director of MAS Design Products Ltd. He trained as a Mechanical Engineer at Imperial College and Rolls-Royce. After working in the engineering industry for several years, he also trained as a Designer at the Royal College of Art in London. His award winning products sell in tens of millions, globally. He is a visiting lecturer at various schools and colleges in UK & abroad, including the RCA and Imperial College in London.

Why did you become a designer?
Imagining and making new things …. for a living ? The ‘college answer’ is to make people’s lives and the world at large ‘better’, that new products should all be universally user focused, and their benefits really needed. But I believe that unless you have some personal passion for a new product, it is rare to do something extraordinary.

Which designer or company do you most admire and why?
Steve Jobs – yes as a designer. His imagination and vision across a broad range of design aspects makes him and Apple so special. Engineering, branding, interface, product design, quality, image, etc … it’s all design.
What product couldn’t you live without?
iPhone. But I’m still waiting for it to open edrawings, and 3Dvia models with 100K+ triangles.

What design would you have loved to have designed and why?
Juicy Salif, 3 legged orange squeezer – OK, a clique, by a bit of a nutter! It is also an iconic, one-piece product. It’s innovative (i.e. stands over the glass). It is also clever (see how the legs join body so juice runs to the centre), it lasts forever, has a very high cost to retail ratio. But the perfect product has not yet been designed, everything can be improved, even this is not so easy to use, spills and scratches work surfaces!

Play-Doh, Meccano or Lego?
Meccano – plus a hacksaw, because it did not always do what I wanted
(a bit like some CAD tools today).

What are your weapons of choice?
I couldn’t live without pencil & paper. But SolidWorks, Dell M4400 + big monitor, with SSD and multiple hard discs for DVD slot comes very close.


What is missing from your toolset?
A ‘tool’ that takes my imagined shapes and pencil curves, usually drawn on top of 1st pass CAD printouts of fixed parts and sections, thickness’, FEA results, and turns the sketch into parametric curvature continuous surfaces, intuitively, without any hassle or workarounds.

Is there anything that would make your design and development process run smoother? 
A programmable clone who brings this last tool …. or maybe just an assistant?

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing designers at the moment?
Balancing ALL design factors, not just ‘cherry-picking’ the fun and easy stuff (concepts and ‘styling’). Appealing products with long term utility (not just next year’s landfill). Meeting target markets in volume, good cost to retail ratio (for a happy food chain), efficient use of materials and energy, easy to use and to make. Unlike for authors, artists and musicians there is no automatic IP protection for designers, nor any international enforcement police, especially not in China!

Can you predict any future trends?
Products for our future selves. Much more bio-mimicry, designers will have to work much harder to truly integrate efficient engineering with obvious to use, beautiful structures. I see an end of ‘just cladding the engineering’ – the mechanism/electronics will be elegant, integrated and will be the product … but not as we know it, Jim.

If you were hosting a dinner party who would you invite and why?
Richard Dawkins and the Bishop of London, James Dyson and Richard Seymour, Jeremy Clarkson and Jonathan Porritt – opposing opinionated views – pure joy!

If you have a story to tell and want to take part in our 60 second interview please contact {encode=”tanya@x3dmedia.com” title=”tanya@x3dmedia.com”}

Leave a comment