Meet Mockett’s Design Competition Winner
An Interview with Jake Gillespie
Jake Gillespie is one of the winners of the 36th Annual Design Competition and a student of Design at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. We had the chance to catch up with him and discuss his design process, how he came up with his award winning design, and what the future holds for him leading up to graduation and beyond.
Doug Mockett: Tell us about your design background and what attracted you to this industry.
Jake Gillespie: I’m a senior in the Industrial Design Program at Appalachian State and am getting my Bachelors of Science Degree in Industrial Design with a concentration in Product Design as well as a minor in Apparel Design. I’ve always had a fascination with how things worked, even as a kid I was always building things and getting my hands dirty. While other kids were playing with Legos, I was trying to figure out how to make a hover craft or trying to design a tree house with an elaborate tunnel system. This passion for building things carried over into adulthood and I’m getting to live out my love for it now.
DM: Tell us about your award-winning design and your inspiration behind it.
JG: My design is a hook to be attached to the bottom of tables or desks. There’s two parts – the first being the hook and the second being a screw on clamp that holds the hook in place and gives it the ability to slide out when you need to hang a backpack or headphones but can tuck away when not in use. I found my inspiration from the Clip Drawer Pull that Mockett sells; it has a unique function that I had never seen in a drawer pull. I took the design and tried to think of unique functions that a hook could have and different mechanisms that I had not seen before. By looking at the current market, I found that most of the current solutions for desk hooks were bulky and did not offer the functionality to be hidden. Through ideation I settled on the sliding mechanism for my final design.
DM: What is your process and approach to design? How do you envision the concept-to-part pipeline and how do you execute? How many times would you say from start to finish did you need to make changes to your design to make it more functional?
JG: I find that the modern approach to design – form follows function – has always kept me from adding details just for the sake of adding details. I enjoy figuring out my designs and how they will work and then using that function to decide what it will look like afterwards. I enjoy adding human elements to my designs as well because in a world filled with automation, adding an elegant interaction between human and object can add a lot to the design. As for the concept-to-part function, the designer needs to understand the processes that they are designing in order to have a good design. With the design of my hook, I made sure I used as few parts as possible, that it could be machined easily, and that the processes made sense for the product.
DM: Were you affected by the pandemic in any way as a designer? How has it affected the Design Industry as a whole?
JG: Most of my classes went online at the start of the pandemic so it was hard to have that kind of group feedback that I was used to pre-pandemic. My eyes have been opened to the whole infrastructure of production and the supply chain. I think it’s remarkable that in order for someone to produce a product they must get materials from someone who needs to get their materials from someone else and so on. I think the pandemic has made people realize that production isn’t as simple as it sounds.
DM: What does future of design look like to you?
JG: I think that as the world becomes more digital and interconnected, so do peoples’ understanding of consumption. Mass consumerism has led to the biggest crisis that the world has ever seen. The public now cares more than ever about where their stuff comes from. They no longer care only about how something looks but also about materials, who’s producing it, and what good the company is doing. Design is becoming more and more an expression of someone’s social beliefs and identity and we will soon no longer be able to deal with things like planned obsolescence and their wallets will prove it. Products must be high quality, long lasting, and repairable or people won’t buy them.
DM: Now that you are an award winning designer, what’s next for you? Is there anything you are currently working on?
JG: This semester I’m working on my Capstone Project. I will be looking at how work has changed over the past two years and what kind of accessories can help with that change. I will be looking at a backpack that can adapt to a work environment that’s no longer a singular place but more of an ecosystem of locations. And I’ll also start looking for internships in the summer and am excited to get a career in what I love doing.
Congratulations and thanks to Jake for producing a simple yet highly functional design and walking us through his process of getting there. We are so excited to continue working with him to bring this sliding Desk Hook to market!
For more information on our Annual Design Competition or to see how you can enter click below! We are now accepting entries for our 37th instalment!