The Scoop - Patrick Yaffe

Please introduce yourself and state the qualification you obtained from Open Window.

Hi, my name is Patrick Yaffe and I received a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Creative Technologies specialising in Product Design.

What motivated you to pursue a career in Product Design, and what aspects of the field do you find most exciting or fulfilling?

I first heard of Open Window from an advert that I saw.

When did you graduate?


Can you tell us about your journey from being a student in Product Design to your current role or career path? How did your education prepare you for this?

After studying at Open Window I had the opportunity of working with a scale model building company. This is where the skills developed during my course benefited me as the work would entail a 50-50 split between physical model making and designing as well as reverse engineering models. 

The next position was at a modular housing company where I made use of the problem-solving skills taught at Open Window. I was responsible for designing new wall and floor units that had to be efficient as well as structurally sound. Thereafter I worked with a sheet metal manufacturer where time management skills were crucial to be successful. The designs made were for electrical enclosures geared toward cranes and power stations.

For just over a year I have also done part-time work for a safe manufacturer where I am tasked with creating detailed models and renders for clients so that they can better understand the features and details of the products that are available for them. This position works under very tight deadlines so the time management skills as well as the planning that goes into designing efficiently were greatly utilised.

Where do you work at the moment?

Currently I am working at HATCH as a 3D Modeller and Automation Designer in the electrical division as part of a larger team. Here I have had to put together all my previous experience and skills to provide the most value I can to the team to best achieve our goals for the project at hand. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in Product Design, and what aspects of the field do you find most exciting or fulfilling.

Since I was young I always wanted to become a Lego Designer and from an email my mom helped me send to them when I was young I found out one of the major requirements is “Product Design”. From that point I was always interested in and motivated in the direction of Product Design. I find the ability to create something that solves a need or niche in someone’s life is the most fulfilling part of this profession.

In your experience, what are some key skills or qualities that a successful Product Designer should possess?

A product designer should be able to adapt to the changing nature of projects, they should have very good communication skills so that they can effectively convey designs and ideas to the clients who more often than not have no idea about what goes into a successful design. I try and strive to self-improve in anything I do as well as keeping up to date with relevant developments in the field. 

What’s your go-to creative snack?

Oats Cookies

How do you collaborate with clients, stakeholders, and other designers when working on a project, and what are some of the biggest challenges you face in this regard?

At the start of a project, the main goal or hurdle is to bridge the expectations of the client with the knowledge of the designers. Once the client is aware of the scope and requirements for the design the rest of the process can become easier. A crucial part of this and what is the main challenge sometimes is communicating and educating the client in design. Depending on the brief given the client needs to be aware of challenges you or other designers foresee as a result of experience as well as give the client recommendations and improvements that they may not be aware of.

Top Bands?

Panic at the Disco, Kongos and Måneskin

Innovation plays a significant role in product design. Could you discuss a time when you had to think creatively and push boundaries to develop a unique and innovative design solution

When I was tasked with designing new floor and wall components for the modular building company. This was one of the more difficult situations where conventional solutions were not going to work. I had to create a design that was both lightweight as well as strong enough to withstand the required operating strain of the structure’s use. Conventionally a large portion of the design would be metal to provide easy strength but this would not be able to work in this case due to project-specific constraints. I came up with a design that incorporated a composite material lattice to save space and support efficiently with minimal steel supports aiding in reinforcing the frame.

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in the industry?

I would say that keeping myself up to date or at least familiar with new 3D Design software and rendering tools is great for keeping pace with the field. 

Do you have any favourite free resources you can share?

If you have a student licence Fusion 360 is a great tool to explore modelling and it is very easy to use and incorporate with 3D printing technologies. For rendering I would suggest Keyshot or a version that is free to use as a perfect tool to get crisp and clean renders to best illustrate your designs.

Design critique and feedback are crucial for growth as a designer. Can you talk about a time when you received constructive criticism on your work?

Yes, I and other designers received criticism from the client when working at the housing company. This was regarding our timeline for implementing changes brought forward by the client. The most important thing to take away from the feedback was that we needed to communicate with the client regarding delivery dates on the project being extended when there were changes added after the project commences.

What advice would you give to current Product Design students who aspire to have successful careers in the field?

I think that critically looking at things in the world around you is key, always thinking of how things were made and better yet how to improve on them. This mindset is what I feel will keep a designer sharp and successful.