A Friend of a Chair

Chair (noun) - A separate seat for one person, typically with a back and four legs.

chair design

A chair has a personality. A chair has legs, a back and sometimes arms. They occasionally also have elbows, knees and feet (Wilhide, 2010). Chairs are like human beings, as each one is different. Every chair has a certain character about it. A chair can be dominating and help to assert power such as the throne on Game of Thrones, or be soft and calming and express feelings of closure and support like that of your living room couch.

Chairs are able to support you like your best friend but with a bonus that they never argue back. Just like having a best friend, you can also have a favourite chair. We can get very protective of our chairs, they become personal territory: “Who’s been sitting in my chair?” (Wilhide, 2010).

We go through our lives having ‘single serving friendships’ with random strangers (Fincher, 1999). This is also true with chairs. You may be sitting on a chair in a waiting room at the doctors while having a single serving conversation with a stranger. You may never sit on that same chair or see that stranger again in your life.

The next time you sit on a chair, make sure you take some time to get to know it a little more.

Fincher, D. (1999). Fight Club.

Wilhide, E. (2010). How to design a chair. London : New York, NY: Conran Octopus ; Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Hachette Book Group USA.

Your Story is Your Brand

“Everyday, billions of us are engaged in an unprecedentedly massive and shamelessly personal storytelling campaign called social media”. (Weich, J, 2013, p. 24)

Story telling is a powerful tool to brand and market any product. A product does not have to be a physical object, it can be a person, an experience, a service or an idea. Just as a successful business brands a product to become desirable to its customers, I have been branding myself as a storyteller to build a following and community around my design practice.

The brilliance of story driven brands such as Apple, Coca Cola, Google and Nike is their ability to bring together different cross-cultural communities around a single (positive) mentality: Think Differently; Open Happiness; Don’t Be Evil; Just Do It. What these simple yet beautiful slogans have in common is that they are all variations of the same aspirational narrative: to get the most out of life while you are here. So what is my narrative?

As a young designer, getting the most out of life is what I am working towards. While I am still young and single I wish to make my mark on the world while the consequences may be much lesser. If one was to start from nothing, you do not have anything to lose if you fail. A wise start up business founder once said to me, “make sure you fail fast”. But, to fail fast, first you must have something to fail.

If you are reading this, you are probably aware of the successful Pledge Me crowdfunding campaign, raising funds to send me to the United Sates. I have been offered an opportunity to visit some of the top design and business institutions within San Francisco. Who would say no to this opportunity? With such short notice to organise and pay for the trip, I have indeed started from nothing. Just as the campaign has started from nothing. I have nothing to lose in giving crowdfunding my best shot. If it were to fail, at least it would have been over and done with quickly resulting in minimal collateral damage.

What I have learnt from the experience is that you have to be cut-throat and direct. Marketing your campaign is not for the faint hearted. Your friends and network will get sick of your continuous posting on social media platforms. The truth is that no one will listen to you the first time, nor the second and probably not the third either. You have to build a relationship with your audience. It shows you who your true friends are. The people who continuously like, share and comment on your posts on social media are the ones who really do wish to see you succeed. It is not all bad however. It is important to create a brand that tells a great personal story that others can relate to. It can be an extremely rewarding experience in understanding more about one’s self.

If you ever have the opportunity to raise funds through crowdfunding, I highly recommend giving it your best shot. It is always much easier to start from nothing as anything you do along the journey will be constructive. It will be tough at times…. It may put strain on yourself and those around you but the experience will be worthwhile and very rewarding. 


Glenn’s Hats of thinking.

I like stories. I like to tell stories and I like to listen to stories.

A great story can connect us to our humanity. It is what links us to our past and provides a glimpse into our future. Stories can educate, motivate and inspire us to go that one step further. To push the limit of what we once thought we were capable of.

I am not a great writer, I tend to struggle with articulating my ideas through words. In fact, at the age of 14, I had a spelling age of 9. It is ironic that I am starting this blog. As a designer I communicate through sketches, models and objects that surround me. When writing is the least of my strengths, why would I use the form of text as my communication tool?

This is where the journey starts.

My name is Glenn Catchpole and I love hats. One for every accusation and for every day of the week.
I am an Industrial Designer with a passion to craft cool stuff that tell meingful stories. Over the past year I've been developing a method for eliminating waste in the manufacturing and assembly of sustainable products. I use a process of creative pattern making to design unique ways in which 3D form can be derived from mostly 2D materials.

Using this blog as a tool, I will tell stories of my discoveries and adventures as a designer. Just as I have been inspired, motivated and educated by the stories of others, I hope I can do the same for you.