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Barney Parsons

Career Path: Co-founder & Creative Director at dooka limited
Location: Newcastle/Manchester, UK

I have always got a lot of enjoyment from creating things, whether that be a product, poster, website or even a good meal. It gives me a lot of satisfaction. I was slightly apprehensive to take design as I have never been that good at drawing, and my interpretation of design was that you needed to draw... I was very wrong. The process you learn (design thinking) can be applied to any problem you come up against and it provides you with an approach to understand and define the issue and then prescribe a solution to a wide range of issues. I still get a lot of enjoyment from my work and I haven't looked back since.

What are you doing now?

I am currently a co-founder & creative driector of a creative agency (dooka) that I started up with 3 of my closest mates that I met at Northumbria (2 of which also did Design for Industry). Dooka is an ideas agency. We provide businesses with an outside perspective on brand representation, internal process and strategic direction. Our process is rooted in research and strategy. From a deep dive into idea generation to delivering creative outputs, our team provides unique solutions and an end to end service.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I was recommended by my design tutor at school that design for industry course was highly commended and that a lot of quite high level designers (Jonny Ives - design at Apple being the go to) have come out of there. Also I think the clinching factor was Newcastle as a city; it has good bars, nice food and a great music scene.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? 

Design for Industry as a course is very collaborative. It is predominantly course work and team projects with pretty much no exams (which suited me very well). We worked in a studio where you got to see a wide range of projects which provided you with a lot of inspiration for your own concepts.

How connected was your course with industry?

Luckily Design for Industry is very well connected with industry. I undertook three separate placements in industry, one of which being in Amsterdam. We also would regularly have guest lectures/projects with industry experts / companies.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

In my opinion no amount of lectures/projects can prepare for the actual real world. I learnt more in my placements about actual design work and what it entailed to run a viable business. Also having relevant work experience on your CV when you actually leave university really does help you stand out from others.

What was the best thing about your course?

The collaborative aspect of Design for Industry really opens you up to team projects and allows you to get inspiration from others which really helps. Also you have the option of studying abroad for a semester, during which I studied at Yeungnam University in South Korea.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

I met the people who I now run my own business with! Northumbria Enterprise has also helped us greatly with advice, guidance and mentoring.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

I would say design thinking. The process of understanding and defining a problem, exploring concepts and finally prescribing a solution for the issue.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Meeting like minded people, living in Newcastle and enjoying every part of it.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Newcastle as a city is brilliant, so if you find a course that is well suited to what you want to do. Jump on in.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Very Career Defining.

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