Prime Cuts: Beat the Burn

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With all the student degree shows taking place at the moment and with the New Designers event just around the corner, we thought that this week’s instalment of Prime Cuts should be from a product design student.

Bradley Wherry, an Industrial Design & Technology BA student from Brunel University, has created sunglasses as part of a campaign, Beat the Burn, to raise awareness about the dangers involved in over exposure to the sun. The frames change colour to indicate the strength of the sun’s UV rays and to remind users to head for cover or apply sunscreen.

At Brunel, final year students set their own briefs that tackle a particular problem. Wherry, having grown up in Jersey and spending a lot of his childhood on the beach, remembers how easy it was to get burnt. So, he settled on the problem of sunburn.

– Wherry started off his project by researching UV radiation. He also looked at the attitudes and behaviour of people around sun protection. He discovered that children are some of those most prone to sun damage, with a clear correlation between over exposure at a young age and skin cancer in later life


– So, he decided that he would target his product and campaign at young children (6 to 12 years old) and their parents, encouraging more responsible behaviour in the sun

– He decided to create a sunglasses concept with shades that would change colour. He hoped that the fun aspect involved would work better than scaring people about the dangers of overexposure to the sun

– The aim was for the sunglasses to act us a reminder and not be too intrusive. “This was a major factor in the campaign,” says Wherry. “The unintrusive and friendlier approach towards sun safety was a unique take on this health area, which has not really been covered before.”

– He then researched photochromic pigments, which darken on exposure to UV light, looking at how they work, how they can be manufactured and the costs involved

– He decided to model his concept on the Ray-ban Wayfarer style, which could be produced in a variety of colours, based on the frames’ chemical and pigment composition. This style proved to be the most popular between sexes and age groups

– Prototypes were then produced to prove the concept

– As the sunglasses were only one part of the project, Wherry started working on the campaign itself and mocked up many posters (one of which is below), leaflets, flyers and other marketing materials. “These were all done by hand, but only a few could be brought forward due to the time restrictions of the course,” he explains

‘Beat the Burn’ was exhibited at Brunel’s final year show of engineering and design students – Made in Brunel – earlier this month.

Wherry is now hoping that his concept will catch the eye of sunglass manufacturers.

Bradley Wherry wearing his sunglasses

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