July 3, 2015 by

Designer Q and A – with Noel Joyce

We wanted to bring you something a bit different for this post. If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know that Noel Joyce has been contributing regular posts on all aspects of Maglus and design. We thought it was about time you guys found out a little more about the designer behind Maglus. We managed to tear him away from all his creative productivity for a few minutes to chat about all things design.

1. How did you get into design?

After I had in accident in 2006 that ended my career in the Irish Army and left me confined to a wheelchair, I looked to start a new career as I could no longer perform my duties in the Military.

Looking around I seen the difficulties that people of all abilities have and wanted to pursue a career that might help alleviate those everyday difficulties and add value to peoples lives. Luckily I found a college course in Product Design. To be honest I had no idea of what that was until I looked into it more. I graduated in 2010 and began to work in the industry first freelancing and then in design led startups. It’s an awesome job as no 2 days are ever the same!

Noel with Peter Donegan after securing investment on Dragons Den in 2012.

Noel with Peter Donegan after securing investment on Dragons Den in 2012.

2. Describe your current role and what it involves?

Currently I am wearing a few hats! I think being involved in different projects is really important for designers as the cross germination of new ideas and understanding different technologies as well as trend watching really helps inform good directions for ideas. Right now I work on new product development for Applydea the company behind Maglus as well as for another startup I am part of called Breezy Gardening I am working at a hardware accelerator in China called Haxlr8r and I also do a little lecturing in product design at the University of Limerick here in Ireland. My primary functions are predominantly identifying real opportunities for ideas that make a difference in peoples lives. This goes for all the work I do. When it comes to lecturing its about bringing the knowledge I am gaining from industry to the class/studio in order to inform students.

3. What/Who are your biggest influences/inspirations?

Influence is always a moving entity as new technologies inform how we think about the world. I think then you could say new technology is an influencer. I am inspired by the happiness of others who are less fortunate than myself and those that achieve against all odds. Anyone who is willing to go the extra mile. I really like the quote “go the extra mile, it”s never crowded”

4. What advice would you give to someone considering getting into design?

Do you like uncertainty, can you accept criticism and having ideas torn apart that you worked on for months? Are you able to accept years of having to try to get people to understand the importance of design? Are you willing to work unreasonable hours on something that will never see the light of day? If you cannot say yes to this and many other questions like this then do not get into design! If you can say yes, have blind faith and it might just work out!

5. What do you like most about your job?

I love the fact that there is rarely 2 days ever the same. It truly is a job where you get out what you put in and as long as you can remain open and determined opportunities will come your way. I get to meet amazing people with great ideas and get to work on new ideas incorporating cutting edge technologies. In some cases I even get to see the future!

Noel with Chris Hadfield in Dublin, 2014.

Noel with Chris Hadfield in Dublin, 2014.

6. What’s been the most challenging thing about working in design?

Because product design in particular is so prolific it is hard to make sure that everyone understands its role and importance. There are examples everywhere of design from the paper cup your coffee comes in to the pen you use to the car you drive and everything you use in your everyday life. They all have had the same process of development that leads to its physical manifestation. There has been a designer involved in a huge amount of work and making lots of decisions in every one of those products instances. This value is not something that is apparent and design is often considered an aesthetic value. This makes the design process seem like an arbitrary expensive process when a solid well executed design saves money and adds huge value. Trying to convey this message repeatedly is the most challenging thing about design work!

8. What is your proudest design related achievement?

A major win is when someone makes a nice comment on a product idea or product you have worked on. When they get value from the product and it makes a difference to them. Being able to do this makes me proud, the fact it helps me to provide for my family makes me proud. its actually a win for everybody then!

9. Other than design, what else are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about family and friends, entrepreneurship and technology.
I also enjoy whiskey and gardening although not together!

Tullamore Dew Heritage Center - Noel's hometown(and favourite Whisky!)

Tullamore Dew Heritage Center – Noel’s hometown(and favourite Whisky!)


Are you interested in getting into design? Keep an eye on what Noel is up to with his ventures below.
Follow our blog and social media for more creative inspiration!

Paula O’Connor

Breezy Gardening
University of Limerick

Paula studied Furniture Design at DIT in Dublin. She uses the Maglus for quick sketches and notes. She loves tea, coffee and yoga(but not at the same time).