Michael Tougher

About Me

I am a designer and inventor. I have recently graduated from Product Design Engineering at The University if Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art with a First Class.




  • Marc Newson Lockhead Lounge 1986

Marc Newson – influence of super-designers

Our second lecture of Design and Technology introduced me to Marc Newson, the “superdesigner”, through the documentary Mark Newson Urban Spaceman

I will think about it from my view as a Product Design Engineering Student, yet to fully develop a design philosophy, asking myself what influence should he have on me. What can I gain from his work? What can I learn, strive to achieve from this well renowned designer?

There is a lot to inspire.

He talks about being a “geek” and that designers are geeks. Designers should be obsessed. He is driven by frustration and a desire to change things. There is no question that he thinks differently creating very unique products. The ability and also the confidence to think different is a very valuable trait. He embraces material and technology pushing them to their limits. When the constraint of industrial manufacturing is added he creates beautifully considered objects – where I think his best work is.




Here we can see one of his greatest design characteristics – detail. All details should be greatly considered.

However through all of the program and seen in a lot of his work is a great excessiveness and indulgence. It is clearly seen in one of his celebrated works. The marble table below which was cut out of one block of marble leaving the majority of the block of material as waste.

Marc Newson Marble table gdr.typepad.com


Sustainability does not seem to be a concern. In today’s world sustainability is a real challenge and a challenge that creates better designs and better designers.

Throughout the film, his website and press there is no mention of a design team. It is all him; the brand and the icon. The design process involves numerous people, it is incredibly important and should be celebrated. I do not really care for the idea of this one man designer “rockstar”, it feels like a marketing exercise.

For me his influence on me is summed up by one of his famous products. The ford 021c Concept car. It was designed not as a real product but to encourage the people at ford to think differently and pay attention to the detail.



Marc Newson is to me what the car is to Ford.

Post picture – Lockheed Lounge, 1986 Designmusem.org

  • Tools on desk

Demise of Skilled Traditional Manufacturing

The lecture this week focused on the demise of skilled traditional manufacturing, the causes and the effects. These traditional skills are disappearing with less being made in Britain.

The traditional skills focus on craft and graft. Time is taken to learn the techniques and they are honed over a lifetime and passed down generations. In today’s market there is a perceived value to these skills with a handmade product from a heritage brand selling for a relatively large amount of money. A lot of these prices are driven my market value of history.

An example that was given in the lecture – Trickers . They make beautiful handmade shoes. The shoes are crafted with over 250 different operations by unique specialist skilled craftsmen. The quality of these shoes is possibly unmatched. However these skills cost money with each pair of shoes costing from £650. These objects have a great amount of beauty and are at the very high end of the spectrum but can a £650 pair of shoes be considered responsible design? I think there is the same brilliance and quality in responsible and sustainable mass manufacturing.



I feel that these skills should not be lost but there is this perception and link between the words skilled and traditional. Does a manufacturing method need to be traditional to be classed as a skill? What classifies as a traditional skill? Can new responsible and innovative techniques in manufacturing be classed as skilful and also celebrated? They should be. Accessibility to new manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing is increasing, creating a whole new set of skills and techniques that a new generation can learn and earn a living from.

A visit to CAModels opened my eyes recently. They are a company based in Stirling and are a market leader in the Product Development industry working with machines and techniques I had never even imagined. Government money would be wisely invested in these areas.

One of the questions here is about value. Are the perceived value of these traditions just or should the same value and celebration be placed on modern and future techniques and innovation?

One way to keep traditional manufacturing techniques alive is through the sharing of knowledge and making connections. Scotland is full of many amazing people with innovative techniques.  One amazing project is currently connecting creative professionals to these people and companies  and is called Make Works  It is brilliant.

Stromness, Orkney Islands

Team Make Works | Photo Credit: Rob Howard 

All making and manufacturing should be celebrated, whether technological or craft. The new industrial  revolution will make man the maker. Through greater access to technology and sharing of techniques, craft and manufacturing can make a comeback.


photocredit – bespoke shoes unlaced – a shoemaking blog

  • intro image2

Design and Technology

This year at university I will be taking part in a course called Design and Technology. It is a lecture and discussion based course. Its aim is to develop understanding the significance and responsibilities of creating a product. It aims to expand awareness of the impact of the current and emerging technologies.

During this course I will be blogging  every week reflecting on different topics with questions thoughts and insights. I will also be using it for developing my thoughts and arguments relating to my chosen final assignment.  Please let me know your own thoughts so the discussion can continue.

Contact Me

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]