Gurus Day: Our students meet the industry experts

  • Published: 11 Dec 2018

Our fourth year Product Design and Digital Interaction Design students recently met a number of industry experts for feedback and fresh perspectives on their honours project, as part of their annual Gurus Day...

Duncan of Jordanstone was delighted to welcome back a number of alumni for a special one day workshop with our fourth year Product Design and Digital Interaction Design students, known as 'Gurus Day'. 

Each year, alumni, businesses and industry insiders – also known as the 'Gurus' – are invited back to the school for the event, where our students have the chance to pitch their honours work-in-progress project to them, ask questions, and receive invaluable feedback and advice. Now in its ninth year, it’s a hugely rewarding day for our students.

[Dean Brown pictured above] 

DJCAD alumni Dean Brown, who has gone on to be an incredibly successful Product Designer who's worked with international brands such as Google, Uniqlo and Nike, was attending Gurus Day for the first time this year. He was very impressed with the standard of the work he saw and in particular, the depth of the research the students had done to inform their projects.

“The fact that they’ve thought so deeply and so specifically about the needs and wants of each user group sets them up really well.” 

“The fact that they’ve thought so deeply and so specifically about the needs and wants of each user group sets them up really well to then have a really strong project evolve from it. If you start with a wishy-washy starting point you’ll end up with something that looks good but doesn’t really fulfil much of a need. The fact that they’ve carefully enquired into certain user groups sets them up really well.”

The day also gives students the opportunity to get a fresh perspective on their work – in a way that might benefit them in the future. “It can be easy to miss the opportunity for what something might be, as the students are working on these projects all day every day. It’s good to speak to someone who doesn’t know anything about it and get this very upfront, immediate reaction to your work. It’s that immediate reaction that might, ultimately, decide whether you get a job or not in the future.”

[Hazel Wyllie pictured above]

Hazel Wyllie, who graduated from the Digital Interaction Design course at Duncan of Jordanstone two years ago and now works as a UX Designer at Children’s BBC, was also attending the event as a Guru. She told us, “The workshop today has been great – it’s actually really inspiring to see the real world problems that the students here are trying to solve. There were a couple of projects in particular that really stood out as tackling real problems that real people have.”

“The event today has been great – it’s actually really inspiring to see the real world problems that the students here are trying to solve.” 

She added, “It’s also been really nice to come back from a bit more of a mentoring perspective. The course taught me about a human-centred design process, and everything I learned here I now use in my day to day job at the BBC, so things like understanding your audience, working with different groups of people, presenting back ideas, and coming up with new designs are all really important.”

The students also found the day really beneficial. Arooj Alim, who is a student on the Digital Interaction Design course, told us, “Gurus Day has been really helpful. We’re essentially pitching a concept to the Gurus and then it’s about figuring out where we go with the project from there, so the insight they’ve given us is so beneficial. They’ve also offered us advice for when we graduate, and given us their cards and told us to stay in contact, so it’s been a really good opportunity all round.”

Find out more about our Product Design and Digital Interaction Design courses on our website.

"It’s really beneficial for students to speak to someone who doesn’t know anything about their project and get this very upfront, immediate reaction to their work."

Dean Brown, Product Designer and DJCAD alum