A Day In The Life of A Technical Director

At Quantum4, we offer strategic design partnerships to some of the world’s leading brands and retailers. Whether it is a brand refresh, new product launch or managing a complex tender programme, we work to deliver the best value for your company. From invention, design and prototype all the way through installation of the display equipment, our specialist team enables us to create a global reach. Yet, this wouldn’t be possible without our local team. 

We have created our ‘A Day in the Life’ series to provide an insight on how our team provides global results. 
Today, we take a look into a day in the life of our Techical Director, Richard Joyce.

1. What does a typical day at Quantum 4 entail?

My days are really varied! Ultimately, as Design and Technical Director, I am responsible for our concept outputs, the technical solutions, product development for Quantum Zero – our sustainability tool, research projects and even publications of reports to the boards of some of our key partners, brands and retailers. I get out to see our clients quite regularly which is always an enjoyable part of my role and it’s great to work on so many varied projects across so many different clients around the globe.

2. How did you get into the retail design industry?

I started my first job in the industry the day after my graduation ceremony back in 2000. I was a junior member of a very small team of designers above a metal factory. It was an excellent first position that gained me a lot of valuable insights into the manufacturing process. I quickly realised that I needed to get experience of manufacturing across a wide variety of manufacturing materials to be effective at producing good technical solutions. I was also given the opportunity to test my skills at creative briefs and found a love for working in 3D and animation. I discovered I liked being able to influence the success of a project at all stages.

3. How does sustainability impact your designs?

Sustainability is right up there with other considerations; It must be safe; it has to be fit for purpose; It needs to meet or exceed the expectations of the brief. Sustainability is as important. For years, I was frustrated at the sheer amount of waste within the industry and now being in a position to influence change, even at a small scale, gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

Sustainability has been a career-long focus of mine and now I always consider many more objectives when providing solutions: Standardisation, modularity, design for disassembly and give particular attention to choosing materials based upon key factors such as recyclability at the end of life, recycled content vs virgin content in the original substrate, environmental impacts, embodied carbon and any accreditation for paper or timber products.

Finally, I try to remove energy from the manufacturing process wherever possible. By removing unnecessary complexity, reducing or limiting processes during fabrication, and looking for low energy methods of manufacture, we can influence the sustainability of the material lifecycle whilst also potentially saving cost.

4. What do you love about working at Q4?

I like the sheer amount of capability crammed into the organisation. Everyone in the business is very technically knowledgeable, and we have a mix of experience from both supply and client sides of the business. Every day brings new opportunities and my own skill development has gone through the roof since joining. I really feel it is a place to grow and discover more about myself. A rare gem.

5. If you could see one headline in the retail press this year, what would it be?

“Material advances in other industries herald a new era for retail sustainability”.