The idea for DD McLeod Design came about while I was working in Australia in 1997 in a large corporate planning and logistics role. It became apparent that business worked best when processes were designed well, and the people using them while applying good leadership, were able to work together in their making. On the product side, working with throw away products at the time, the thought came to me that products are ideally either made to last, to be recycled, or in the case of food and fuel, for immediate and efficient consumption. Then there was consideration for using minimal resources in their making. That is in the products themselves, and in their delivery. Progressing in the supply chain, the next role I took back in an other large corporate back in New Zealand, was working in large scale national and international transport and logistics. Cumulative small improvements applied across the supply chains were seen to deliver substantial cost reduction, resource reduction, and service improvement benefits.
Thinking further about product design, products and services are often seen to be over-engineered. Over-engineering can overcome many things, including ineffective design, or incorrect use of a product or service. Over-engineering also uses considerably more resources throughout the supply chain.
‘Last Long, Waste Nothing, Nothing to Waste’
It is seen that the solution to many engineering problems already exists, bringing engineering methods from one industry sector, to another. This thinking has been highlighted in periods of history where the need and priority has been greatest, particularly during wartime. Not surprisingly my favorite design is the WWII Mosquito bomber. Although designed as a bomber, it almost never was, as politics almost got in the way. The belief was that a bomber had to be large and slow, and protected by fighters. The new design thinking applied was why not make one aircraft do both? The body of the Mosquito bomber was made of laminated plywood due to a shortage of metal. It also was to become extremely light, fast, and agile. In producing the engineering functions required, the resulting design was also stunning and of timeless beauty in form.
My earliest design thinking was well before I was able to read properly. This was when I worked out that if you could make it yourself, you could have almost anything you like. All you had to do was work out how to make it. I found I could make almost anything out if cardboard and sellotape. At High School in the 70s, a group of budding engineers spent all their breaks and lunch-times talking about what they wanted to make, then working out how to make them. There was then no internet back then. Then we did, mainly model planes. I was to become the master modeler in the group, and also got very good at fixing them. This was useful as my flying wasn’t so good, worst case when my control line JU87 Stuka in true form did a full speed dive in to the ground. In most of my spare time, I was also learning engineering skills and crafts in the maintenance, repair and running of the family’s pre-war MG which I was to become life long custodian.
Looking back at things made from the past around the world, there have been innumerable processes, materials, and crafts involved. Many crafts sadly are now being lost, or being replaced by 'new' technologies. Often I believe new technologies cannot completely replace the craft, and there is nothing quite like a hand crafted item. DD McLeod Design aims to bring together craft, and precision engineering, in a journey to rediscover some lost crafts, and maybe create some new ones.
DD McLeod Design works a collaborative design model under three connected pillars.
Pillar 1. Small Engineered Item, and Industrial Furniture Design and Manufacture
Pillar 2. Supply Chain Contracting
Pillar 3. Pinenut Records Hub