Oct 12. 2021

Meet Katie, our Colour, Materials, Finish (CMF) Designer

We’re very pleased to welcome our newest member of the team, Katie Forrest Smith, who joins us as a CMF Design Intern. We’re investing heavily in our Colour, Materials, Finish (CMF) library at PDR, to ensure the best possible products leave our lab - and to that end, Katie is our greatest (and newest!) asset.

So, what does a CMF expert do all day? And why is the ‘colour, material and finish’ of a product so important? We sat down with Katie to find out more…

“My role means looking at the specifics of a product - the colour, what material it’s constructed from, whether it’s a rough or smooth finish or something else - and balancing that with the manufacturing restrictions of what can actually be achieved,” Katie explains.

With a background in textiles, Katie brings a unique perspective to CMF to the PDR labs. Having recently graduated in Textile Design from Edinburgh University, Katie’s main role is focused on helping to build PDR’s CMF library from the ground up.

So, how does that translate to a 9 to 5 day? “We usually start with a team meeting, and then I launch straight into the CMF library set-up! That could mean sourcing new materials, doing trend research, looking at sustainability elements and how we can bring those into our design practice. But I’m working on live projects too, so that involves things like market research and putting together trend boards,” Katie states.

My role means looking at the specifics of a product - the colour, what material it’s constructed from, whether it’s a rough or smooth finish or something else - and balancing that with the manufacturing restrictions of what can actually be achieved.

Katie Forrest Smith | CMF Designer | PDR

But it’s not exactly your typical Pinterest board; “It’s all physical,” Katie explains. “I reach out to suppliers for samples and swatches, because we need to have a real catalogue we can touch and see for future projects.”

When asked about the golden standard for Colour, Materials, Finish, Katie points to Hella Jongerius, the Dutch industrial designer who developed the CMF library for Vitra, the Swiss furniture company. “She also comes from a textile and fine art background but she’s worked within product design for years, and the CMF library she’s implemented within Vitra is really inspiring. She uses materials that translate a feel of craftsmanship. The way she uses the CMF makes products feel handmade and unique.”

Outside of work, Katie hones her own creativity with botanical illustrations and watercolours, along with printmaking. “But if I’m not doing that, I love finding little independent cinemas and seeing whatever’s on - I get to see a lot of new films that way!”

The PDR team would like to welcome Katie to its ranks - we’ll be releasing more news about our growing CMF library very soon!

Learn more about what it’s like working at PDR, or to discuss an idea, contact us.

JOIN THE DESIGN CONSULTANCY TEAM

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Find out more here.