Archives: April 2014

The cult of hand built. The Bespoke Show 2014

With bikes, bespoke, and consumer trends all being on our watchlist we thought we would head over to the Lee Valley Velopark to visit The Bespoke Show 2014 to feed our habit.

Initially conceived to promote frame builders producing one off custom frames, the London Bespoke

Bike Show has, over the past few years, become a key date in the diary for anyone passionate about the design and craft of bicycles.

It doesn’t take a trend forecaster to tell you that bikes are hip – and no more so that the cult of hand built – whether your bike started life at a carboot sale or from a custom

builder the over arching need is to stand out in a crowd and the pickings from the Bespoke show really do that. Feast the eyes.

To see a selection of images please visit the Rodd Pinterest board.

Read how Rodd explored ways to reduce bike crime.


Ethnography is now a staple discipline within user-centred design agencies and is now taken for granted. But what does this regularly over-used term mean? Ethnography can be seen as a broad research approach or even a research ‘style’, rather than one specific methodology.

The crux here, and what differentiates ethnography from conventional qualitative research (such as focus groups and online panels), is to get under the skin of everyday human behaviour, to better understand the context and the specifics of the users we are looking to engage with in the most natural way possible.

With the right methods and a healthy dose of situational curiosity, user-centred designers and researchers can uncover new insights and develop new opportunities for almost any given topic. This immediacy and often insight rich approach make ethnography perfectly suited to the front end of the design and innovation process.

Three things to remember…

1. Tag along. Primarily good ethnography is an observational process, with discreet but natural questioning – avoid interrupting the natural flow of behaviour at all costs. Think of yourself as tagging along in the background.

2. Make a narrative. We use video and lots of photography (along with notes) to capture the story and insights as we travel through the day with the subject(s). This material makes for great narratives that can be shared with the design and client teams.

3. Don’t Delay. Debrief the team and discuss insights and observations on a daily basis. Delaying this until the end of the research phase doesn’t help as the subtlety of the observation or the specific of the points get lost.

Read about our work in this space.


On the day of our arrival, a new project kicked off. Both Nilas and I were immediately immersed in the agency work from the get-go. No slow easing-in period — instead it was boom! work — which is a positive but somewhat daunting situation to find oneself in, especially right after moving countries for a job. However, it ended up being a great opportunity to get to know the work process and people at the studio: after working closely together with everyone  for even just a couple of weeks, I felt as if the time spent at Rodd had been considerably longer. And I do mean this in a positive way.
Now, after a couple of months,

I consider myself pretty lucky: not only do I get to be involved in diverse and interesting projects, I also come to a very nice studio every day to work with people who are passionate about their work and great at what they’re doing. They’re also great to get along with!

For others thinking about joining a design consultancy:

You’ll need innate curiosity and you’re likely to be someone who enjoys switching between subjects and projects. Being a self-starter, who is comfortable with the rotation of very busy runs and willing to get stuck-in across a wide range

of tasks is also important. A good consultant is a team player and appreciates constructive criticism and is open to ideas that may conflict with their own. This word is thrown around quite a bit and might sound corny, but passion – when seeking comfort, it’s perhaps not wise to choose the design consultancy route which requires agility, resilience and pushing oneself to improve and think differently all the time.

In my opinion, skills can always be acquired; it’s the mindset that needs to match a design consultancy way of thinking.

Our blog

Welcome to our Rodd blog. This is where you will find all the latest design project releases, news from the industry, our trend and show reports as well as the inside track on life in and around the Rodd studio.

Rodd Design is a privately owned industrial design and innovation studio formed in 2000 by Tim Rodd and Ben Davies, focused on delivering the highest quality creative work and commercially effective product design.

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