Murray Harden is a 25-year-old BA Graphic Design graduate from Falmouth University. His final project is called Kuiper 19 and won Bulletproof’s student competition this year.
Design Week: Can you explain your project and motivation for doing it?
Murray Harden: Earlier this year I was lucky enough to attended a visiting lecture at Falmouth by Bulletproof, held by Maddy Travers and Maddie Thomas. Their enthusiasm for great design and their love for Bulletproof was a good enough reason for me to get on board with their yearly competition brief and I have loved every opportunity it has opened up for me.
My project, Kuiper 9, is positioned as a luxury vodka brand in which its ingredients are sourced from galactic ice harvested from the boundaries of our solar system. If that sounds like a bunch of nonsense, that’s because it is. This brand is completely made up, but when Bulletproof set me the task to create a brand, service or product from a rap lyric by Mos Def, I had to get creative!
The bottle itself is designed to stand out from the crowd with its elevated shelf presence and crystal texture that catches the light no matter where it stands. The bottle has luxury cues throughout the design, including etched and embossed logos within the glass. The idea behind the brand and the product itself was to transport people to the icy world in which this vodka was sourced. Mos Def believed there was a mysterious ninth planet at the time he wrote Mathematics, so the name Kuiper 9 relates to his suspicions about the planets, as well as where the planet could be found (The Kuiper Belt).
DW: What was most challenging about the design process?
MH: The biggest challenge with Kuiper 9 was finding ways for the brand to engage with consumers in new and innovative ways. Being a high-end luxury brand, budget went out the window and I decided to bring the corner of space down to earth. I created immersive brand experiences that transform everyday spaces, such as the tube system, into the foreign world of the Kuiper belt. I wanted to create intrigue and buzz around the brand. I also started to develop messaging around the idea that vodka is a form of art and used that idea as a springboard to create an immersive experience at the Tate Modern London, inspired by Olafur Eliasson’s ‘The Weather Project’ 2003.
DW: Where do you see your design career in the future?
MH: I’m a very ambitious person by nature so I have big ideas for my career but I am currently focused on making my first steps the right ones. Currently, I am interning at some amazing studios in London and Bristol, which will be valuable experience for me to learn from some of the best teams in the design world. Interning is great for meeting new faces and learning what kind of studio works best for me and where I can add value to a team.
Ideally, I would like to start my career as a brand strategist because my brain is geared more towards the problem solving rather than the final creative solutions. However, my success with the vodka project clearly shows that my design thinking, visual and making skills have promise. Therefore, I’ll look forward to trying a variety of avenues in this exciting first stage of my career since leaving Falmouth and see where it takes me.
Check out other graduate projects from this year’s cohorts here.