PDINZ Interview - Alistair Patterson

An existing Member (DINZ) who has gained up to five years experience as a practising designer and attained a high level of professional competency in their design sector. A Professional Peer Review must be carried out by a selected panel to acknowledge this Professional Membership (PDINZ).

PDINZ Interviews are a follow up with recent successful Professional Peer Review candidates. 

Interview with Alistair Patterson, PDINZ
Industrial Designer, Blender

Q: Why become a PDINZ now?
Becoming a PDINZ Member has been something I have always aspired to. Having said that, I also wanted to apply when I believed I had earnt my stripes and had something to offer the design community. I was nominated by one of the founding Partners at Blender Design, Oliver McDermott, who believed I had reached this point in my professional career.

Q: What do you hope to contribute as PDINZ?
Over the years I have been the beneficiary of the great and supportive design community we have here in New Zealand. Anything I can do to give back especially to the young talent coming up.

Q: What is your role at Blender and what does a ‘standard’ day look like for you?
Alistair: My day usually starts between 4am and 5am with a strong cold brew coffee and a couple of hours on my bike or in the gym to get my head and body in the right space. I am a Senior Industrial Designer there and to be honest no days are really 'standard'. I am involved with managing several jobs, so there are lots of internal catch-ups with our designers and meetings/calls with clients. Having said that, I still really love design so the largest portion of my day is still on the tools, creating. I tend to be involved with the later stages these days, like detailed design, rather than the front end concept stages.

Q: Where do you see your strength as a Senior Industrial Designer?
Alistair: The experience I have gained throughout my career after being exposed to so many different product designs gives a library of knowledge that can be applied to future projects and helping other designers at Blender. Developing close relationships with clients I have found to be a strength I have, that is really key in my role.

Q: You spoke about enjoying getting your hands dirty, what is your favourite material to work with and why?
Alistair: Everything and anything that allows me to test the design/feature I'm trying to figure out. I love getting into the workshop and quickly mocking something up from the materials at hand. It allows those questions you have about a design to be answered and sooner rather than later, when the consequences are far greater. It is also a great communicator, having something physical to discuss with clients and other members of our design and engineering team.

Q: What are the main tools of your trade and are there tools you are keeping in your radar/hope to upskill to?
Alistair: A notebook, a sketch pad, Solidworks, Keyshot, Adobe, 3D printers and a workshop. Between these I am generally covered for any situation however, we always have an eye out for new tools that may add value.

Q: You used to be a competitive cyclist… with your designer hat on: what is your all time favourite bike and why?
Alistair: I am actually lucky enough to own my dream bike: a Colnago C64 - a lugged carbon bike still handmade in Italy. Being involved in mass production of products I still have a great love and appreciation for handcrafted products. It's a bike I will never sell.

Q: You have won Bronze and Silver for some of your work throughout the years, what do you think those accolades have contributed to your practice?
Alistair: They have added the desire for a Gold and Purple Pin and the constant push to do better within projects and deliver for clients.

Q: What do you think was the most useful/poignant aspect of your PDINZ interview?
Alistair: It is so easy to get caught up in day-to-day life, the interview gave me an opportunity to slow down, look back and reflect on how far I have come and question where I would like to be in the future.

DINZ Interviews

When the opportunity arises, DINZ interviews leading designers from here and overseas. These interviews seek to dig beneath the surface to address the common and uncommon challenges, problems and opportunities the design community faces.