Can you sketch – AUB December Workshop at MoDiP

Like any event there will always be unknowns and yesterday was no exception. Our studio is based in Old Town, Poole so when we received a slightly panicked call from Lucy, from the AUB Innovation team at midday to say that there had been a massive power cut across the whole of Bournemouth we were none the wiser.

Lucy was looking into alternative venues for the workshop which was due to start at 2pm and explained that the Uni campus was pretty much in darkness. Our initial Plan B was either to bring everyone to our design studio in Poole which would have meant an additional 15 minutes drive for the attendees (some of which who had driven from Surrey to attend) which wouldn’t have been ideal or hope everyone came well dressed and host the workshop outside in sub 3 degree temperatures. Luckily for the attendees and us, the power came back on just before the workshop was due to start.

The MoDiP (Museum of Design in Plastics) exhibition 2019

We work closely with the AUB Innovation team here at Aetha Design and a while back we went to them with the idea of screening RAMS – the documentary film which was made by Gary Hustwit. This was screened back in November 2019 to over 60 local people and following the success of the evening and local interest, the AUB team thought it would be ideal to support the screening with a workshop which went into a bit more detail about some of Rams’ products which were actually featured at MoDiP and Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design.

Dieter Rams as featured in RAMS (documentary film by Gary Hustwit)

The workshop was a sold out event with 12 attendees who were made up of a mix of design & creative professionals, engineers, entrepreneurs, UX designers, students of design & local business owners. We even had one of our past clients come along which was great.

The workshop was held at the intimate venue of the MoDiP (Museum of Design in Plastics) on the AUB campus which is open to the public and a really interesting visit for any design enthusiast.

Tom giving an introduction to Aetha Design

With a quick introduction into who we are at Aetha Design from Tom (Aetha Founder) and a brief introduction into Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design, the attendees were then led by Dan (Product Designer at Aetha Design) into a sketching warm-up exercise. Attendees were given tips into how to sketch freely. We noted a lot of design consultancies and designers now don’t tend to use sketching, most likely due to technology advances however we feel that the art of sketching is fundamentally an important principle in the early stages of the design process. Our design team enjoy the act of sketching and often use as a technique in our Stage 1 process of Concept Ideation with any project. Sketching can be quick, thought provoking and often a very simple way of expressing an idea.

Dan’s sketches from the exercise with the attendees

Following the warm up exercise into sketching, Tom explained one of his biggest bugbears as a product is the microwave.  He continued to explain that he struggles to understand why they are so ugly, generally have a short life-cycle and are hard to use and just “badly designed”. It is key to note, the microwave does not follow Dieter Rams’ principles. The attendees were asked to think about a microwaves usability, how they themselves interact with a microwave at home and what buttons were actually necessary on the product. Tom added that he does not have a microwave in his home (however we do have one in the Aetha studio)

The attendees talking about design features

Dan then facilitated the activity of presentation sketching & sketching some MoDip example products, including the famous Braun lighter designed in 1968 by Dieter Rams & the Braun design team which seemed to spark some insightful conversation from the attendees.

All the attendees were really amazing at getting involved with the sketching exercises and gave our team something to think about back here in the office today. Thanks to Lucy & Dan from the Innovation team at the AUB for seeing this come to life and Louise from MoDiP as well as all the attendees for coming along.

We look forward to hosting a workshop in the future at our own design studio. If you are interested to hear about our future events then please email us at and we can add you to our mailing list or follow us on Instagram.

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