SPD Student Profile: Stefanie Birk

Stefanie Birk is an Erasmus Exchange student from the University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany. She has a background, and interest in medical product design and has joined Stage 2 of the BA(Hons) Sustainable Product Design course for the first semester.

Where are you from?

I live near Stuttgart in Germany. I normally study at the University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd but am currently doing an exchange semester in Falmouth.

Tell me about one of your main interests in design?

My main interest in design is to solve peoples problems with innovative, smart and long-lasting products. It is very difficult in our world of consumption to design a product that is durable. This is particularly needed in medical design, which I would like to specialise in. I like to consider the usability and ergonomics within my design projects. Its always a huge part of my studies throughout the whole project.

What’s your favourite thing about the course?

What I really like about Sustainable Product Design at Falmouth is that they focus on sustainability and human centred design. I also like the freedom that the design briefs give you. There is a large range of different product outcomes at the end as everyone has picked a brief that suits their goals, skills and interests.

What’s the best thing about living in Falmouth?

Falmouth is great! I love the atmosphere in the town. It is distinctive due to the art and design brought by so many students living in this small town. Of course I love to live 10 min away from the beach, surfing at the weekends and enjoying the beautiful nature of Cornwall by joining the expedition society.

What has been different about this course?

In comparison to my course at home, the Falmouth Sustainable Product Design course is less technical and more in direction to art. However, it is much more detailed on the research before you’re actually designing. Exploring different research methods in depth was really valuable this semester.

What are your plans for when you graduate?

Before I will graduate I plan to do another 6 month internship to gain more work experience as a product designer. For my graduation thesis I plan to find a collaborative company/ partner to learn from their expertise and knowledge in my final graduation project.

Summarise one of your current projects.

Currently I’m working on an Asthma Inhaler that does not have the physical appearance and stigma that many medical products have. The design solution is a product that resembles a lifestyle related object. This increases the portability and likelihood of the inhaler being used throughout the day.



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