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– Written by Ellen McConnell – July 20, 2023

Designing a Community: An interview with Brad from Design Truth

What began as a podcast during the COVID-19 pandemic has now evolved into something a lot bigger than expected—a platform that brings together a vibrant community of industrial designers.

From delivering industry events and facilitating new hires to providing professional development training, Design Truth has already made its positive mark on the industry. As we delve into the insights shared by the founder, Brad Harper, we explore the inspiration behind Design Truth, the challenges faced, the people they have encountered along the way and their vision for the future of the industry. 

What is Design Truth? 

“Design Truth is simply a vehicle that brings community into the world of industrial design.

The business originally started as a podcast during COVID (the hipster thing was either bake banana bread or start a podcast) and organically it just grew into something quite magical. Since going full-time we have delivered sold-out industry events in London, Bristol & Manchester – delivered new hires for the likes of blond & Joseph Joseph through to professional development training with anyone from Pentagram to Brompton Bicycles.”

What led you to create Design Truth? 

“My career pre-DT has been hiring in the world of industrial design on a global scale. I was hooked on my second day walking around the manufacturing site of the ‘Henry Hoover’ as a young 19-year-old and never looked back.

Over an extended period of time, I’ve experienced so many different elements and subsectors of the industry ( a level of diversity of clients that would rival any industrial design consultancy), and the power of that network only reaches fruition when you bring them together.

Let’s face it, industry continues to face immense challenges – some in and some out of our control. At the heart of that is an individual, and you cannot begin to tackle those challenges alone.”

Who are the most interesting people you have met along the way?

“The most interesting are often ones with a story to tell.

I love the amateur chef, the DJ, the ones forever thinking about the big picture but also the ones that want to get into the detail. Those with a life outside of the craft are always people I tend to gravitate towards.

Our events are as much about getting to know the human just as much about being in a room with like minded designers. No one really cares about how many awards you have won at a Design Truth event.” 

What is your next upcoming event? 

“Our next industry meetup is in London on the 31st July. 

Due to the levels of demand and interest we operate an invite-only model and the 150-200 tickets available get snapped up in no time – regardless of where we are in the country at whatever time.

We already have designers and decision makers signed up from the likes of Disney, PriestmanGoode, Polaroid, Seymourpowell and so many more. TDC PR & Shark-Ninja are sponsoring the evening – there really is nothing quite like it with industry coming together. 

You can always keep an eye on tickets by heading to the Design Truth website.” 

What do you see in the future for Design Truth?

“A million-dollar question.

In the short-term, like any business owner it is as much one foot in front of the other as we continue to push against the economic tide. We have been blown away by the levels of community interest in our events across the UK, so moving into larger-scale conferences is something always in the back of the mind.

We have some exciting pieces of training planned delivered by industry partners, but most importantly the aim is to continue to be a net-positive for the industrial design economy here in the UK.”

How do you see your industry evolving in the next 5 years? 

“An industry will always evolve around its people.

If you were to think back to 2018, what would your answer have been to this question?

It is likely that over the next 5 years our politics will shift, new leaders will emerge, but do we truly believe that the discontent from large parts of society will submerge in such a time period? If anything, we will continue to become more fractured as a wider society.

We will still be scrolling, swiping, defined by an algorithm.

I hope design will shift away from the exterior as an individual game and readdress itself as a team sport. The bravado, the ego, it holds no weight at a Design Truth event and I think we are starting to see the early behaviours of industry coming together as one rather than staying riddled in self-interest.

The need for a university education will subdue, industrial design teams will continually become more diverse as the next generation of hiring managers take the helm, and I am pretty confident that the highlight of the calendar will still be a Design Truth event.” 

Visit Design Truth’s website for more information.