Design Council Spark ProgramAirdrate selected by the Design Council to feature in Spark Innovation ProgramAirdrate by RoddDesign Council and Rodd help launch the Airdrate brandRodd user centred design researchiterative product design modelsAirdrate brand strategy by RoddDesign Council and Rodd mentor start-up Airdrate


Rodd partnered with one of the finalists of the Design Council Spark program, a product innovation fund to uncover the UK’s best innovations and turn them from brilliant ideas into commercially viable products.

“When the father and son start-up approached us they had a great invention; a pair of earplugs for alleviating inflight ear pain, but needed help to create their brand and product design so that it would be both compelling and ready for investment”, says Rodd Director Mark Morgan.

With 34% of adults and 64% of children who fly reporting inflight ear pain, inflight passenger comfort solutions have become a significant consumer market.

The founders discovered that ear pain was caused by dehydration of the ear drum, rather than widespread assumption that it was simply cabin pressure changes. “This distinction could potentially disrupt the existing passenger earplug market and quickly became the focus of both the product design and branding concept”, says Morgan.

We gathered together ear pain sufferers, frequent flyers and cabin crew to understand the nature of the problem and their current coping strategies. Armed with these insights we built iterative prototypes to refine the product design – defining adult and children’s sizes, whilst visualising pack and branding concepts that could be tested with users.

During the twenty week sprint, Rodd worked with the co-founders and Design Council mentors across all consumer touchpoints, from name creation, product design, digital branding, business planning and investor pitch ultimately creating a compelling value proposition for the newly named brand; Airdrate.

Rodd will continue to work with the Airdrate team in the next phase of their development.

For more of our work with the Design Council click here.

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