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David Swann

Design Academic, EducatorProduct, Industrial & Packaging Design

David is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, holding both an M.Des in Industrial Design and a Ph.D. in Design. He currently serves as an Emeritus Professor at Sheffield Hallam University, with a career spanning three decades as an academic and senior researcher. His design research extends across the domains of product, service, and strategy, guided by a developed methodology of lightness with an ethic of care for people, places, and the planet.


David’s frugal innovations have earned a place in the collections of the London Science Museum, the London Design Museum, and Young V&A. In 2014, he won the World Design Organization’s Biennial World Design Impact Prize for his ABC syringe, where a color-change label visually alerts patients to the risk of contamination from prior use. In 2021, his interdisciplinary Life-Saving Lullabies project was showcased at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. This project was selected as a practical example of a net-zero, zero-cost health messaging intervention for St. John Zambia.


In recent years, David has become an advocate for decarbonizing the design process and the challenge of designing within the constraint of a carbon envelope. Apart from this, he has a keen interest in design history as a collector of 1970s digital watches and is currently documenting the design archive of his uncle-in-law Patrick Rylands RDI.

David Swann