Introducing our Associate Designer, Emma Kennedy-Flanagan, with a few questions to get to know her and hear about her background and passions.
Before OXygen, what’s your creative background?
Prior to OXygen I studied Industrial Design & Technology at Brunel University, which included a placement year at a design consultancy; here I primarily focused on designing physical products. In particular, I aimed to create and improve products that would have a positive impact on industries and individuals, for example Vac3 which is a self-sufficient vaccine cool box.
After graduating, I have worked for three and a half years at NiftyLift, a design and manufacturing company, as a product designer. Focusing on the physical aesthetics and ergonomics of human interface components, whilst expanding into graphics and UX projects enhancing the usability of products.
Why did you choose to become a designer?
I have always been creative and have been interested in artistic subjects throughout my childhood and school years studying art and design. My passion for design formed on a future educational awareness event which brought product design to my attention and after various discussions and workshops I followed this as an academic route through to university. I particularly liked that you could use design to improve the lives of others.
What are the key aspects of your design process?
My design process will vary slightly depending on the project, but generally I’ll follow a simple research, analysis, design, and validation process. I really love the research stage of a project which is super important for most projects, but especially when doing UX based projects.
After the problem definition and research is when I can diverge, analysing the problem and starting to ideate and design. I’ve found it to be important to keep the client involved throughout the design process, ensuring that what you are creating aligns with what they have in mind. Validation is important at the end of a project, which includes testing, as there is no benefit in releasing a product that is ineffective or fails to meet the original brief.
Who is your dream client?
I hope that throughout my career opportunities arise with a vast range of clients and backgrounds, but most important to me is my work holding a meaningful and beneficial purpose. In the future I would like to work with clients which allow me to utilise my awareness for inclusivity and accessibility. “Designing to be essential for some, useful for all.”
I am passionate about improving the education system as I believe this holds the solution to many societal problems we see in the world today. I have worked on projects which help to improve this in many ways, and I would love to do work for organisations like the PSHE association.
What made you want to work for OXygen?
I really felt that OXygens’ values lined up with my own, which is why I was interested to join the team. The types of projects that OXygen holds involvement with are exactly what I aimed to focus on at university.
I was also really excited for a bit of a change in my career. For the last 3 and a half years I have been focused on one company, working for OXygen means that I get to shake it up a bit and work with a variety of different people and clients rather than getting comfortable with one company and style.
What do you get up to outside of work?
Even outside of work I am still creative, most of my hobbies are in some way linked to art or design. For the last 8 years I have been designing and building costumes and attending conventions in them which I love as I get to meet lots of like-minded people. At the moment I am also working on a painting series of women around the world who are facing one form or another of social injustice in an attempt to raise awareness of these issues.
I also try and do some volunteering outside of work. I currently volunteer with the British Science Association, helping assess CREST awards within the STEM sector and I also help reduce food waste by collecting unsold food from local shops and redistributing it for free to people within my local community.
Emma is an experienced product and user experience designer with a BA degree from Brunel University London in Industrial Design, and a professional diploma in UX Design from the UX Design Institute. She has worked as a UX and graphic designer in the manufacturing industry helping improve the human interface and experience of customers.
Emma is passionate about helping others, in her free time she mentors students from local schools and helps prevent food waste by collecting surplus food from businesses to redistribute to her local community.