The Apprentice: Meet the designers

January 19th, 2022
What was your role in the show?

Olivia: “I was the app designer for the boy’s team- I put together the game mechanism, artwork assets, styling and interruption screens based on the boy’s requests.”

Isaac: “I was on the design team modelling up the toothbrush design in 3D CAD and then assembling it the next day.”

Ben: “I was doing brush concept design for the boy’s team as well as branding design and packaging.”

Dan: “I researched and tested different motion captures technologies. I found high end motion capture suits that could work and enable the candidates to experience accurate full body tracking. This technology was Xsens motion tracking and I worked closely with them to allow us to use their technology for free. I ran the motion capture side of the trials training Kinkit to use both the animation software as well as the Kinect based and Xsens motion capture technology. I animated the Lord sugar intro to the show as well as modelled Lord Sugar into a tooth fairy.”  

What was the biggest challenge of the experience?

Olivia: “I found it so hard not to jump in and offer suggestions and advice on the design but the producers were there making sure we couldn’t give the candidates any help to make sure it was fair for both teams.”

Isaac: “The biggest challenge was trying to do such a large amount of work in such a small amount of time. We had a cut off point for the 3D printers and the filming was delayed which meant we had less time to model the design than first anticipated.”

Ben: “The biggest challenge was definitely having to design a turd on national TV knowing full well what it looked like as I was drawing it. Also being asked to do packaging design last minute was stressful as we weren’t able to practice it as much – we didn’t find out we were doing it until I think a week before filming.”

Dan: “Receiving the audio from the producers of the Lord sugar briefing late and having to incorporate it into the animation the day before it was required.” 

What was the highlight?

Olivia: “I love working as part of such a big team, we work collaboratively at Innovate but we rarely get the chance to work as a 10-person team on a single project so it was great to have everyone involved and bounce off each other.”

Isaac: “The highlight was going to the candidates house or watching the pitches at Bupa and Superdrug the next day.”

Dan: “Nothing broke on the brush side of things and that the app was stable and didn’t crash.”  

What was something that surprised you about the show / you didn’t know before?

Olivia: “I didn’t realise how much time it takes to shoot things! There were so many times when we had to do re-takes – I had to do a redo a section introducing myself and welcoming the candidates 4 times and it didn’t even make the final cut of the episode.”

Isaac: “They really do turn around the challenges in the time frame shown on the TV. When I’d previously watched the design challenges, I didn’t think there was any way it was done over two days and presumed it was just edited like that for the show.  

Which design did you prefer?

Olivia: “I think the boys had a much better understanding of the game mechanism for their app, the game actually ensured that the child would properly clean all of their teeth and with a bit of development it could have been really fun to play, the girls’ team really hit the mark with their colours and styling which was much more engaging for the target age group but their concept made very little sense and only really ensured the child would brush for a certain length of time.”

Charlie: “The Girls’ toothbrush design but the Boys’ app, even if it was a little plain because it at least made sense.”

Have you got any exclusive behind-the-scenes info to share?

Olivia: “The motion capture suit is an incredible bit of technology, the girls put in a really energic performance and it really bought their character to life (all be it terrifyingly). The boys had a human style character which would have really benefitted for some dancing/ jumping etc and made the game much more exciting, but they didn’t make the most of it.”

Isaac: “The candidates were all very friendly and welcoming which is not how they are portrayed sometimes on the show. They weren’t allowed to talk about anything task related when the cameras weren’t rolling so we just chatted about normal things. They all seemed very interested in what we do as a company which was nice.”

Charlie: “The name of the girls’ product changed about 5 times due to copyright/legal teams not allowing things, but the girls couldn’t seem to get their head around it!”