Dan Black's Design Blog: November 2016 - Black+Blum

Dan Black, Kingston University, design, lecture

For his November update, Dan Black talks the new Box Appetit Travel Mug, thermoses for winter and lecturing to design students at Kingston University.

Hey everyone,

Dan Black here with another update from life at black+blum.

Well everyone in the studio has been super busy this month. I won't mention 'the C word', but it does seem to be fast approaching! Certainly the temperature has dropped... I'm English, so it's OK to talk about the weather. It's definitely starting to feel more wintery, so if you're trying to find a cool thermos, then look no further. Our range of food and drink vacuum flasks are the perfect way to take some hot nourishment with you.

thermos, flask, beach, thermoses

The photo above was taken on a bright crisp morning on Southwold beach in Suffolk, where I was lucky enough to spend a week with my family for their school's mid-term holiday. Just out of shot, my three children are making sand castles in their woolly hats and gloves.

On the note of winter warmers, we also launched our cool new travel mug (sorry to you guys in the US, it's coming into stock in two week times!). The high quality stainless steel design is minimal but really functional. It will keep your morning brew hot and is a great way to save money and help the planet by not buying expensive takeouts that use paper cups (which can't be recycled - see the BBC's post on this).

We really focused on the spout area of this design to make it a joy to drink from, without scolding yourself; definitely a problem with many travel mugs. It is also really easy to clean - especially if you have milk in your drink - as all the components are designed to take apart.


Also this month, we teamed up with the 2nd year BA and MA product design students from Kingston University. I got a chance to tell them more about black+blum and also set them a brief for our Box Appetit range. Over the coming weeks, they'll be working on novel ideas for how you can take your food and drink with you.

I'm super excited to see their ideas and if there are any particularly good ones, then the hope will be to put them into production and pay the students a royalty. Working with a university like this is a great way for us to get an insight into the thoughts of a young creative market and a good way for the students to gain an understanding of a real-life project brief.


Although I studied design at Northumbria (famous graduates of course include Jonny Ive of Apple), I have to admit that the design course at Kingston is an exceptionally good one. It is run by a good friend who I interned under when working at the world renowned design consultancy IDEO (20 years ago!).

I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to study product design. I look forward to checking in again next month when have another exciting product launch to disclose.

Until then, stay warm…

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Dan Black
Dan Black


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