Unique in its interdisciplinary and holistic approach to creative professional practice, the MA Design Management and Cultures course draws on a spectrum of business and arts perspectives.

The project-led curriculum covers all stages of design management from concept, research, ideation and innovation to actionable deliverables. The students develop multi-faceted design management skills and cultural empathy for human-centric, future facing design in business and society.

This year students will be exhibiting at LCC Postgraduate Shows 2017: Show 2 and will feature a wide range of socially-aware design projects in a variety of media, each underpinned by dissertations explaining the theory and practice behind the resolution of their projects.

We had a chat with some of the students showing work at the show…

Anjana Singhwi

Anjana Singhwi, MA Design Management & Cultures student

What work will you be showing at LCC Postgraduate Shows and could you tell us a little about it?

I will be showcasing 11 nostalgic fragrances from India that the 90’s Indian kids instantly connect with. These fragrances will eventually be developed into home fragrance products like scented candles and reed diffusers.

I have been working on a strategic brand development proposal for Maeva®, an upcoming luxury home fragrance brand in India. Fragrances have the power to trigger nostalgia and evoke emotions and currently, there are very few brands around the world that are using fragrances to their fullest potential. In India specifically, this concept remains unexplored.

By understanding how certain fragrances can elicit a positive emotional response from the target audience can open up a whole new perspective on scented products. The goal is to make Maeva® the first Indian home fragrance brand that creates scented products that caters to the intrinsic emotional needs of the consumer.

What interests you about the subject your project focuses on?

The research started with an interest in emotional and multi-sensory brand experiences. Upon further research I learned that the sense of smell is one of the most emotionally potent senses. Fragrances can instantly evoke positive emotional responses such as happiness, comfort and familiarity.

Home fragrance brands have the advantage of using fragrances to connect with consumers at an emotional level which can enhance brand attachment and loyalty, but it still remains widely unexplored. There is immense potential for growth in the home fragrance industry by using olfactory stimulation to develop emotionally-driven products.

What has been your favourite part of studying at LCC, and why did you choose to study MA Design Management & Cultures?

As an LCC student I have had easy access to some of the best academic and design development sources for my research. Furthermore, the diversity of the class opens up new design and research perspectives and encourages creative collaboration.

Most universities offer Design Management courses, but LCC was one of the few universities that offered the course with an added cultural element. Additionally, we were expected to begin the course with a proposal for our final research which gave us enough time to network with industry professionals who could help with the research.

What are your aspirations in design management after you graduate? What do you hope to achieve?

After I graduate, I wish to implement my research findings and develop Maeva® into India’s first luxury home fragrance brand that can be of emotional value to the consumer. My long term goal is to set up my own creative studio that focuses on emotional and sensorial brand experience design.

www.anjanasinghwi.com

Francesca Luciano

Francesca Luciano, MA Design Management & Cultures student

What work will you be showing at LCC Postgraduate Shows and could you tell us a little about it?

My final outcome is ‘Les Artisans’, a digital platform that promotes Artisans from Senegal selling their products online through a bespoke system that encourage the engagement between customer and artisan. The final outcome is not only a digital platform, but also the development of a Business Model conceived to be presented to external investors.

My project was born from a passion for traveling and discovering new cultures which gave me the occasion to identify a widespread problem across many developing countries. My concern was for many local artisans met during my trips who have no voice nor visibility to express their creativity and share it with the world. This inspired me to design an effective solution to give voice to the artisans from developing countries, in a creative way.

To develop such an ambitious and challenging project I knew from the beginning I needed to narrow down and to identify a prototype for transforming a simple idea into a real project. Senegal became the prototype of the idea thanks to Route Artlantique, an umbrella Spanish organisation who offers a series of workshops there over the course of two weeks.

After being selected and awarded a scholarship from UAL, I finally went there in July 2017 and organised a precise plan in order to make the most of the trip. This represented a fundamental part of my research, combined with an articulated methodology developed on three levels: Artisans, industry and customers.

What interests you about the subject your project focuses on?

I am really passionate about my project, as it represents my personal response to the urgent and serious problems of global job inequality and wrong consumption patterns, as the Oslo manifesto 2017 expressed. To me ‘design’ means delivering creative but tangible solutions to the social issues that affect our world. I have always been moved by great ideals during my creative practice but I also always felt the need to transformed them into effective and feasible projects.

I loved the whole process I went through to develop my idea: from planning and managing all the phases, identifying the required external resources involved, to art directing and developing the platform, every aspect represented to me a combination of passion, motivation and challenges.

What has been your favourite part of studying at LCC, and why did you choose to study MA Design Management & Cultures?

My favourite part of studying at LCC has been the time spent in the workshop spaces and in the laboratories. I loved learning all the possibilities of how to bind books, experimenting with printing, learning how to use programs in the digital space, and realising all my professional pictures in the photography space. The interaction with other departments, the experimentation of new creative techniques, the discovery of many interesting and expert people, this was my favourite part of studying at LCC.

I had a foundation in design, but in my MA I wanted to gain a professional preparation in the field of management, I wanted to learn how to make the most of a design project, through management and coordination. LCC offered the best course for Design Management I could find in the whole London Academic panorama. The course description fitted perfectly with my desired career pattern.

What are your aspirations in design management after you graduate? What do you hope to achieve?

My career aspirations are to work as a Design Manager, of course! Translated into reality this means working as art director, creative director or project manager in order to be the expert in both the creative and managerial part and lead to the development of successful projects. The sector I am interested in is the one of fashion, luxury and design, and I hope to achieve those positions presenting me to the industry in the most professional way possible with my CV, final major project, portfolio and motivation.

www.lesartisans.online

Kimberly Feng

Kimberly Feng, MA Design Management & Cultures student

What work will you be showing at LCC Postgraduate Shows and could you tell us a little about it? 

The sedentary lifestyle and a new wave of anxiety in modern societies. Experience Design is an emerging field which involves multi-disciplinary fields. It is a design practice to articulate the best methods of users’ experience, including more emotional and atmospheric elements of interaction, such as seduction, engagement and attraction. My project is about experience design applied in health and fitness apps to improve the engagement amongst them, so that people could spend more time doing exercise outdoors.

The whole journey was exciting and interesting with rich primary research and secondary research. I used the key elements of experience design, which can be applied in health and fitness apps and according to different target audiences to design personalised health experience schemes for them. I wanted to make people really enjoy doing exercise outdoors by using the app and co-create the experience together.

What interests you about the subject your project focuses on?

I am really interested in the field of experience design as nowadays it is easy to see the exhilarating ideas of experience design. The ‘art’ of experience design considers the holistic factors of a user experience that go beyond or extend the ‘science’ of usability. Also, I love nature and want to explore more interesting routes for health and fitness. My project combines these two fields.

What has been your favourite part of studying at LCCand why did you decide to study MA Design Management & Cultures?

I love the course mates and tutors here. They are passionate and thoughtful. LCC offer a lot of opportunities for us to communicate with each other. I love different workshops in LCC that allow you to choose whatever subjects you like.

Design management requires strategic thinking and ability to coordinate how design can play a part in it. My background is marketing but I love design and arts. LCC has helped me to learn how different designers think in the design process, so that I can better coordinate with designers and clients in the future.

What are you career aspirations in design management after you graduate? What do you hope to achieve?

I want to be a design manager in the future who helps both designers and clients clarify their vision and coordinate the ways and means in the process. I want to apply design thinking in organisation management.

www.instagram.com/kimberly_feng

Maria Costa Duarte

Maria Costa Duarte, MA Design Management & Cultures student

What work will you be showing at LCC Postgraduate Shows and could you tell us a little about it? 

I will be exhibiting my Final Major Project, entitled ‘Investigating the Luxury Fashion Industry Strategy: Can Online and Offline Merge into a Singular Concept’, which features a written Thesis, a research Portfolio and a Guidelines book. It’s goal is to forecast if the strategies for digital and physical channels can be merged into one, as to create a seamless, connected and emotional experience for the customer whilst generating new data for brands.

While researching the luxury industry, I understood that whereas traditional brands were extending to online channels, online brands were starting to develop physical features. I started questioning why, since most experts state that the future is digital. Then I realised that it was not a matter of going against the tide but rather an approach to connect both channels, and that is how this project was created.

I have investigated the luxury fashion industry, developed focus groups with luxury customers, interviewed experts in the industry and also observed stores and exhibitions. It was an extensive research process that mainly aims to support luxury fashion brands in deciding the best approach to strategy, considering the constant technology evolution and the impact this has on customer’s needs.

What interests you about the subject your project focuses on?

I am interested in how luxury brands create an emotional connection with a customer and how the meaning of luxury changes according to each person. On the other hand, how technology has been impacting luxury, retail and consumer needs, is something that intrigues me and makes me wonder how brands and retail spaces will manage to stay relevant in the future. Hopefully, the guidelines present in this project will assist on that level.

What has been your favourite part of studying at LCC and why did you choose MA Design Management & Cultures?

It is amazing how it is such a multicultural university – just the MA DMC class has at least people from 12 different countries. Also, I love how the entire staff is helpful. Whether you want to know about binding, the best print options for your project or what would be the paper that fits what you had imagined, they always help somehow. The printing, binding and photography facilities are also a huge plus.

What did you decide to study Design Management and Cultures and why at LCC?

After finishing my BA in Design, in Portugal, I worked at a creative agency and that is when I understood the importance of management, in order to have a happy team and happy clients. I had a creative background and wanted more of a business view that could lead to positions related to Art Direction or Management. DMC is such a broad course that you get an overview of a lot of disciplines that can support you in any field within the creative industry.

Ever since I can remember, I knew I wanted to study at UAL someday, thus it was the only university I considered when I decided to do a Masters programme. The first time I deliberated it I was 16 and thought I wanted to pursue acting. When the time came to actually move to London and do a Masters degree, LCC was the right fit for my professional goals considering a course that united business and art, but that did not limit it to any creative field.

What are you career aspirations in design management after you graduate?

Although I still do not know exactly what I want to pursue, I aspire to find something that unites both strategy and design, particularly within the luxury fashion industry.

www.mariacostaduarte.com

Nareh Ghookassian

Nareh Ghookassian, MA Design Management & Cultures student

What work will you be showing at LCC Postgraduate Shows and could you tell us a little about it?

I will be showing the research and process that I went through to design a business to assist design entrepreneurs of Canada in starting their creative businesses. I initially started this project for my benefit only and later, as my curiosity progressed, while conducting primary research of expert interviews, focus groups, and detailed questionnaires with individuals within various design disciplines and positions in Toronto, I discovered that 59% of the participants aspire to start their own creative business as well. The issues such as lack of business and entrepreneurial skills that I had noticed were also concerns of many like myself.

Since not everyone would get the same opportunity to move to London and study Design Management and Cultures to improve such proficiencies, I decided to design a service to assist designers with this. Now I realise that I do not have the experience nor the expertise to inform personally, but I would like to be the advocate in making this a reality. I was able to achieve designing such a service through an extensive study of relevant literature on the creative industries and economies of Canada and the UK, the concept of creative entrepreneurship, and innovation and business design within small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) as well as the implementation of practical research. By offering this service, I not only hope to ease the process of launching a new business for designers but also provide them with an opportunity to belong to a network, community and a support system of entrepreneurs, advisers, and mentors who encourage and raise one another.

What interests you about the subject your project focuses on?

Conducting research in the areas of creative entrepreneurship was very interesting for me; but the faith I have in the idea, that this service could make a change and be quite impactful, has been very motivating.

What has been your favourite part of studying at LCC and why did you choose MA Design Management & Cultures?

To be honest I can’t choose one. Firstly, I didn’t think studying at LCC would expose me to so many interesting subjects and areas in design and management that I didn’t even know existed – so that has been great. Second, would be the people. I feel fortunate to have met my amazing colleagues (now lifetime friends) and the wonderful tutors and I have to say the facilities at LCC are remarkable.

I chose this program because I wanted to be exposed to the business and management side of design. Design management as an academic course is still quite new and not a lot of universities in the world offer it. When I found the program online, the course description was exactly what I had been searching for and since it is being offered at one of the best art and design universities – I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

What are you career aspirations in design management after you graduate? What do you hope to achieve?

I would like to be a part of the innovation team at multidisciplinary design company with the hopes of leading the design and innovation department one day. I would also like to run the service that I have created on the side.

www.nareh.ca

Rachel Lee

Rachel Lee, MA Design Management & Cultures student

What work will you be showing at LCC Postgraduate Shows and could you tell us a little about it?

I will be showing my portfolio and thesis at the postgraduate show. My project is a strategy research project that involves influencer marketing. It is entitled ‘#Authentic: Cultivating Authenticity in Influencer Marketing’. It investigates how sponsored influencer campaigns online can be authentic and trustworthy for audiences, seeing as influencer marketing has becoming so over-saturated.

As a follower of certain YouTubers and Instagram bloggers myself, I was really interested in the dynamics between brand and influencer, influencer and follower, and brand and follower (consumer) ultimately. I always witness “hater” comments on social platforms towards influencers who are doing sponsored content to promote certain brands; I was interested in why consumers seem to be wary or distrustful of influencers and brands in that way. So, that was sort of the rationale behind my project.

Because my topic was such a virtual one, my process also reflected the same: it was a lot of desk research, digging online for what followers are saying. The more external part of my research was primary research like survey, interviews and focus groups to talk to real people, so as to find out what their views were. The brands I interviewed also provided really good insight into the ways they worked with influencers. Hopefully, my project will be able to illuminate certain blind spots in influencer marketing – a lot of brands nowadays are jumping on that bandwagon but aren’t really sure of how to communicate with influencers or what sort of content to produce.

What interests you about the subject your project focuses on?

I’m a big fan of social media platforms in general – I think they have so much influence over how one can portray oneself. I am intrigued with the popularity of influencers as well as in branding, so my project argues that social media and blogging are such strong tools for emotional branding. Followers are so in tune and intimate with influencers that brands should really take opportunity of that emotional connection.

What has been your favourite part of studying at LCC and why did you choose MA Design Management & Cultures?

It was eye-opening to meet everyone on my course – getting to work with and communicate with people of different backgrounds and disciplines inspired me to step out of my comfort zone. I especially enjoyed collaborating with MA Publishing students to produce a magazine because it was a really fun experience where I figured out my strengths and responsibilities that could work well with the rest of the team.

I thought Design Management encompassed both a creative freedom as much as an acute business acumen. I studied Theatre for my BA, so I was very very creative and free-spirited, but I lacked the anaytical, critical side of things (which forms the “management” part of the DMC course). LCC is a school with such a current and timely mindset – it is very industry-oriented and I think that makes for a really good environment to develop your career direction and vision.

What are you career aspirations in design management after you graduate? What do you hope to achieve?

I’m hoping to get into branding, on the marketing and social media side of things (if the job involves me being on Instagram all day – sign me up!) In the long term, I hope to be a brand manager, where I oversee a brand’s creative direction and marketing.

www.llulamae.wordpress.com

Michelle Winkelsdorf

Michelle Winkelsdorf, MA Design Management & Cultures student

What work will you be showing at LCC Postgraduate Shows? Could you talk us through it – what it is, why you wanted to make it, the process behind it, what you want to achieve with it?

At the postgraduate show I will present my thesis on the alignment of business and design strategy. To be able to find out what the current state of alignment between the two disciplines was, I decided to do case studies and expert interviews with professionals from the creative industries. There was a high interest of industry professionals to talk abut this topic as the role of design is changing.

The thesis will be accompanied by a visual process portfolio. The portfolio displays my collection of sketchbooks, in which I collected all the inspiration, ideas and insights of this project. As I use a lot of sketch notes and visual language, it is also an intention to show complex problems such as the alignment of business and design in a simple way. The third part of my work is a workshop tool, which intends to spark the conversation about alignment in project teams.

What interests you about the subject your project focuses on?

I strongly believe that, in order to solve the complex challenges ahead of us we need to start working together and combine different perspectives to create the right solutions. This is why I am curious about finding out what happens at the intersections of disciplines and how we can create these touch points in a more effective way. I want to understand the reasons why the communication between disciplines turns out to be difficult and which factors can influence the relation in a positive way, in order to be prepared for the challenges of the future.

What has been your favourite part of studying at LCC?

My favourite part of studying at LCC was the diversity of people I was able to meet. My classmates and tutors are from all around the world and come from different backgrounds such as architecture, product design, interior design or business. This variety of cultures, languages and opinions was what made this year at LCC so special to me.

What did you decide to study Design Management and Cultures and why at LCC?

For my undergraduate degree I studied Economics, while maintaining my passion and interest for design and the arts. I chose to complement my BA with a Masters in Design, because to me personally these two worlds have always worked well together. During my research of where I was able to study a design related subject with a non-design background, I found out about the Design Management and Cultures course at LCC. After reading the description and meeting the course leader Nicky Ryan I knew that this was the right course and the right place for me.

What are you career aspirations in design management after you graduate? What do you hope to achieve?

I would like to continue doing research in the field of design management and strategic design. With my further research I would like to help facilitate between business and design as I speak both languages and understand the amazing things that can happen when we bring analytical and reasonable business minds together, with a more exploratory and adventurous designer mindset.

twitter.com/mitchelita_w

See more from LCC Postgraduate Shows 2017.