IDI Award for Creative Design Student Paul Roper

IT Sligo Student Paul Roper was recognised for his radical redesign of the clothing peg ‘MagPin’ at the Institute of Designers Ireland IDI annual design awards in Dublin last week.  Paul is a final year student of the Creative Design course at IT Sligo and has been previously recognised for his motorised tail hitch at the Enterprise Ireland Young Entrepreneur awards.

His new IDI design award winning product the MagPin reinvents the clothing peg and he hopes to have it available in stores soon.  Commenting on the design award Nevil Walsh his Creative Design Lecturer at IT Sligo said;

‘This is a fantastic achievement for Paul as he was up against some of the leading design professionals and businesses in the country’. Paul received a highly commended award for his new product the MagPin which was one of the most talked about entrant idea on the night.

Paul hasn’t taken a traditional route to design but has shown some incredible initiative. Having left school at 15, he took up an apprenticeship as a carpenter which he worked at for many years.  When the economy slumped, Paul emigrated with his family to Canada where he worked in multiple jobs before returning to Ireland.  He is also one of the best poker players in Europe and has played at some of the biggest tournaments in the world.  However, Paul wanted to change his career path completely.

After some consideration, Paul decided to return to college as a mature student at the age of 43.  He started studying Quantity Surveying.   He received his degree in QS last year and then transferred to study Creative Design after he won an Enterprise Ireland Award for his “Lock-on” invention.  This ingenious device allows the hitching of trailers to vehicles with a press of a button.  The invention wowed the judges and inspired Paul to consider a career in design.

Now Paul is back with his next invention and this time he has completely redesigned the simple clothes peg.  After witnessing his ill mother struggling to hang washing on the line, Paul promised to invent an improved clothes peg which any person, regardless of ability, would be able to use easily.

In his first attempt, Paul created a simplified version made of hinges, wood and magnets.  Both his mother and partner were incredibly impressed with his crude prototype.  Encouraged by early responses, Paul developed his designs and quickly accumulated a considerable amount of investment to create fully working prototypes.  Within a few months Paul sourced tool makers in China and created fully working products of his new clothes peg which he has named “Magpin”.  The name comes from “Mag” for magnet and “Pin” is what most Americans call pegs.

Great designers throw away the rule book and can completely divorce their design from tradition, and that is exactly what Paul has achieved.  This product is a complete redesign of the clothes peg.  It is much bigger than a peg, is designed to always be on your line and is “T” shaped.  This unique design means clothes are hung from the side as opposed to being clamped on top as you would with a traditional peg.

The design has function but is also beautifully formed.  Each curve, angle and bend has a purpose to either add strength or to allow easier usability.  It is an incredible product which has three different hanging methods on one device.  As well as the magnetic clamp option, it also offers a hole for hanging smaller items and a hook for trousers or shoes.

One of the best parts of Paul’s design for this country, is how easy it is to take the clothes off the line when clouds gather.  Just a quick sharp pull and your clothes are released from the line.  Unlike traditional pegs you can leave the Magpin on the line thanks to its sturdy design and high quality build.

Sadly the person he first designed them for, his mother, passed away from cancer before seeing the final product.  But her inspiration and support throughout Paul’s life spurned him on.  Today, he is in talks with a major retailer and distributor with access to an international market.

Speaking after the awards, Paul thanked the IDI for recognising his design:  “I’m very humbled to receive this award from IDI Ireland.  I was competing with some of the best designers in Ireland and some of the biggest design companies in the country.  To be among this high caliber of designers as a student is a great achievement for me.  This idea came from seeing my poor mother struggle with this simple task when she suffered with cancer.  I hope this product will help others with similar issues.  I couldn’t have done it with the help of so many people, my lecturers at IT Sligo, my investors and my family and friends including James and Kathleen Eagan for letting me use their beautiful garden for the demonstrations of the clothes peg photo-shoot.”

If you are interested in a career in Creative Design or Product Design please view our course here:

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