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Kinneir Dufort

Design Studio

In terms of the design process, what are the steps do KD go through?

I guess going back from where the brief even comes from, we have an entire innovation team who would do the research to then create the brief. That brief would then go to the designers. In terms of the actual steps and the process I’d have to ask a member of the design team, but I can ask these questions, there are a few members of the team that are really keen to help students. So, doing that I can get a more in-depth answer from them. From what the design process is very much the designers going away to work as a team to think about what steps to take. A lot of it involves doing mood boards at first, trying to get inspiration and understand what the trends within the market are, from there the design team may then come up with a different variety – like one thing we were working on had like fifteen different designs so then the team all went up and put a different colour on each, but in terms of the technical side to the design process I’m probably not the best person to ask but I will get someone to answer that for you.

Who would you say out of the people you worked with or done a collaboration that is the most memorable?

We have quite a lot of different clients, but we have a grading of who are our biggest clients. We do a lot of work for Tetra Pak, so again I’m not really who I would say is most impactful as we have three sectors.

Medical, industrial and consumer?

Yes, it would vary between the three. Measuring impact could also be financially, or actually creating something good. If that’s medical, then our work can really help people. With the consumer work we do, a lot of companies are coming to us to try and find more sustainable models, so they are also impactful.

So, do you get given briefs from clients as well as your innovation team creating briefs?

A company will come to us with something they want to fix, or it might be an idea for a new creation, say it’s a sustainable bottle, they will come to us and ask if we can create it. Our team will then go away with the initial idea, and If that’s accepted by the company, then it depends, it might go straight to the design team, but if it’s something that needs more research, so, one thing we done is to do with formula milk, our team went away to do some research into different demographics globally. The insight and innovation team will do quite a lot of research on the ground to understand the issues of why women might need to use formula milk. So, yeah that’s kind of, I think, it depends if that’s packaging or what’s going on packaging, it really varies. The insight and innovation team will figure out what’s happening and what needs to be answered.

Also, we do have a HF team, human factors, don’t know if that’s something you’ve ever heard of, it’s basically something that is really growing. The HF team will do studies with medical devices, they will give people the steps they need to follow and ask them how they would use it, and if the people find it difficult to use the HF team will have a rethink and make the steps easier to follow, means that before the design team attempt designing it, it’s good for the user and they can use it properly

Are there benefits to being based in Bristol?

Melting pot of people. Heaps of creativity, lots of people with different expertise. In terms of product design, we are more able to be on the map in Bristol, whereas in London we would have just been another fish in the pond. Here we really have an identity and are really passionate about Bristol, and even the history of the building, we’ve been here a really long time.

Who do you work with in Bristol?

Organisations like Frank water, Big bang, Kerning the gap, RSA and we also work with universities in Bristol.

What are impacts of product design?

Varies with what you are creating. If you’re looking at a medical product, it can have a really good impact of people, as It can improve the life of someone! You can also argue that creating products is not what the world needs right now.

Any problems KD face?

Financially possibly. It you have a certain amount allocated to a project, if that project is overrunning then you have to have a good relationship with the client as you are going to have to ask for more money. Its all about communication.

Can you explain the diagram on your website?

Everyone is in house. Which is unique and why KD are used. For us it’s the best way to solve a problem, if a client comes to us with a problem, we have all the expertise we need to come up with a solution. So, with the creative that will generally be the design process, and the insight and innovation coming up with a new idea. The technical is our engineering, electronics and software team. So, I guess this diagram is trying to explain our capability.

Interview conducted by Elliott, Aysha & Aisyah.


KD is a user-centred innovation and product development consultancy. They focus on designing a better world; creating value through tomorrow’s products and experiences.

They fuse creative excellence, technical know-how and user experience expertise, enabling ambitious and progressive companies to deliver successful products and brand experiences globally. Kinneir Dufort is one of the world’s most experienced and versatile innovation and design consultancies, established in 1977. Their award winning teams work internationally with global corporations and brands as well as Small to Medium Enterprises and entrepreneurs.