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An interview with Design-Nation’s brand ambassador Andrew Tanner

Design-Nation managed to catch up with Andrew and asked him a few questions. Read his answers below.

Design-Nation asked: Please tell us about you and what you do.

Andrew Tanner answered:

I graduated in Craft, specialising in Ceramics from the University of Brighton in 1997. In 1998 I was one of the founding partners of the design house HUB which reflected the movement of the British Designer- Maker emerging at that time. Continuing from the success of HUB, Andrew Tanner Design was launched in 2002 to create a new partnership between manufacturers, retailers and authentic design.

I have been an industry consultant, designer, mentor and author over the last 22 years, with a passion and empathy for combining original design for retail and different manufacturing processes.

In 2005 I was awarded the Young Designer of the Year award and have been fortunate enough to pick up accolades in design throughout my journey to date.  In 2010 I was awarded the Young Entrepreneur in Design Award by the British Council.

My work has sold in many design retailers both in the UK and worldwide and through galleries, fashion design houses, department stores and museums of modern art.

My personal belief that good product and design should be accessible to all introduced me to working with manufacturers and retailers behind the brick walls or the retail sector. I became the Head of Design for Royal Stafford Ceramics in the heart of Stoke on Trent and soon after joined NEXT Home as their Design Manager for Homewares. My career path then introduced me to the Clothing retailer Joules who asked me to join them to introduce homewares that would reflect their brand and values.

Today I am in my largest role to date as the Design Manager for Sainsburys Home and the Design Manager for Argos.

I lead a dedicated team of 24 designers who create furniture, accessories and products for homes and interiors which reach 70% of the UK population.

Today I continue to work within the design community and support Design Nation as an ambassador for the organisation.


D-N: What are your ambitions and challenges in the next year or so?

A.T: To retain authenticity in my approach towards design and keep supporting emerging designers, makers and craftspeople into the industry. In 2017 I introduced Sainsburys Home as the proud sponsor for the New Designers Exhibition. This year will be our third year and since starting that partnership we have introduced 6 young designers into the design studio who are creating products for how people live their lives today.

D-N: How and why do you work with designers and makers?

A.T: as above

D-N: How and why did you get involved in Design-Nation?

A.T: When I graduated from the University of Brighton I showed my work at The New Designers Exhibition. A wonderfully inspirational lady called Peta Levi who was the founder of the New Designers Exhibition asked if I would join an organization that celebrated the best of craft, design and product called New Designers in Business. In 1999 this organisation became known as Design Nation. When Peta passed away I was asked if I would take the reins of Design Nation until I found who would become the rightful owners. In 2014 a new permanent home was created for Design-Nation at The National Centre for Craft & Design and in 2017 Design-Nation merged with prestigious membership organisation Design Factory, to create ONE leading portfolio and network. Continuing to be known as the established brand, and guarantee of quality Design-Nation, we support the very best and most diverse UK-based contemporary craft and design and nurture emerging talent.

D-N: What do you think are the main challenges for the design and craft sector? And do you have and advice for today’s emerging designer-makers?

A.T: The retail landscape is changing at a very fast rate. Understanding who your customer is when designing and selling product is more important than ever before. The internet has become a platform that challenges us daily. People will always want products that tell a story, reflect their personality or solve a problem for them. How best to get your work seen, understand your customer and how people interact with your work is really key to growth and success.

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Clare Edwards


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