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James Langdon

James Langdon

Social designer

James Langdon studied Product Design Engineering at the University of Nottingham, and received a Highly Commended Award in the 2012 RSA Student Design Awards for his radical guide dog harness re-design. He currently works in an industrial placement in Digital Marketing at L’Oreal, has had experience as a Packaging Development engineer for Heinz.

After James' family trained twelve guide dog puppies, he saw first-hand the immense and life-changing social benefits these dogs can confer. But every product is not perfect - the guide dog harness design has not changed in 80 years, and has a number of significant design flaws: it is difficult to remove, only comes in three sizes, and the rigid, heavy handle can upset the dogs and actually prevent a significant portion of them from passing their 'test'.

James used his knowledge of 3D printing and engineering to iteratively develop a practical, ergonomical harness that combined aesthetics with the latest technological innovations.  More beneficial for both the dog and the user, James worked with both guide dog trainers and users, to create a harness re-design for the 21st century.

James says 'we must strive for inclusive, user-centred design, and, with an ever-expanding and ageing population, the Gentle Guider is proof innovation in social design is going to be even more essential in the 21st century'.

James ran the London Marathon in 2010 for Guide Dogs for the Blind.