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Tim Brown CBE, Executive Chairman of global design company, IDEO.
Tim Brown CBE, Executive Chairman of global design company, IDEO.

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International design expert honoured by Northumbria University

One of the world’s most influential designers, Tim Brown CBE, has received the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law from Northumbria University, Newcastle.

Tim is the executive chairman of global design company, IDEO, which advises leading brands such as Ford Motor Company, Sony and H&M. He is also an alumnus having graduated over 30 years ago with a BA in Design for Industry from the University’s forerunner, Newcastle Polytechnic, and remains a Northumbria ambassador through his work as an external examiner and Visiting Professor.

Before joining IDEO, Tim studied Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art in London and has won numerous design awards, with his work exhibited at the Axis Gallery in Tokyo, the Design Museum in London and the New York Museum of Modern Art.

His own book, Change by Design, which focuses on ‘design thinking’ was first published in 2009 and updated for a new edition in 2019. Design thinking brings together what is desirable from a human perspective with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. By championing design thinking, IDEO has designed and prototyped products as varied as the life-saving defibrillator to the ground-breaking PRADA store in Manhattan.

Reflecting on his career, Tim said he has always asked the question: “What’s next for design?” And while the question remains the same, the answer has continued to evolve along with advances in technology and the challenges facing society. Today, his writing appears in the Harvard Business Review, The Economist and other prestigious publications.

In 2020, Tim was awarded the DFA (Design for Asia) Lifetime Achievement award. The judges praised his championing of a design-led, human-centred approach which has helped to shape the face of contemporary design, “creating a legacy that is acclaimed by design professionals across the world”.

In 2021 he was awarded a CBE for services to design in the New Year’s Honours list.

Speaking about his honorary degree from Northumbria, which was presented during summer graduation ceremonies held at the University’s Newcastle City Campus, Tim said: “I am grateful and honoured to be recognised by the institution that played such an influential role in my development as a designer.”

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Northumbria University, Newcastle
Northumbria University, Newcastle
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