An Original Breed

By Krisi

Original Breed are a multi-disciplined product design practice who straddle both physical and digital design in the broadest sense. Founders, Richard Stephens and Tom Jarvis met through a previous company co-founded by Richard, where they worked on a product called Duop. Tom studied at the RCA and Richard is a software developer and entrepreneur. After completing the Duop product they, like many businesses that call Makerversity home, decided to co-found a new agency. And so Original Breed was born; a software and industrial design studio, that understands technology, user interface and physical design.


Original Breed describes Makerversity as a “perfect place to base their business with talented people, great facilities and a broad network [where] so many people, despite effectively being competitors, are really giving when it comes sharing knowledge and experiences.” Richard and Tom go on to say that they used to spend a lot of their time running around London to various CNC, laser cutting and 3D printing services. The combination of Makerversity’s location and workshop facilities has made a huge difference to their business.

“We’ve found that the Makerversity way of working is very contemporary. A lot of the people you speak to or meet are working on projects for the greater good and there seems to be a genuine problem being solved”.


Just a few of their clients

OB’s business comes from 3 main areas: products or services, start-ups they have equity in and client work. With a range of briefs to work on we thought we’d share some of the latest products and platforms the guys have been working on.

VR headset – OB are creating a low cost VR headset or public use, that is lightweight, affordable and incredibly robust. The headset will have applications in public areas such as museums, outdoor events and even healthcare. For example it can be used in the therapy of Agoraphobia, allowing patients to practice going outside in a controlled situation.

“The healthcare market could be huge”

OB prototyped the foam headset using Makerversity’s CNC milling facilities and have tooled up in-house using 3D printed moulds. This will enable them to manufacture small batches at Makerversity giving them greater control over the design whilst keeping costs down.


Thinking Well App – Everybody experiences suspicious or irrational thoughts from time to time, but people who experience paranoia believe that other people are trying to do them harm, even though there may be no convincing evidence for this way of thinking. For people experiencing severe paranoia, it is often serious enough to need specialist treatment. Research has shown that helping people to become more aware of the ways they think, and adopting more helpful thinking, can reduce their paranoia. Alongside medication, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can be very effective in this context.


This project is working with an online CBT platform to develop a novel reasoning-focused intervention for people who experience paranoid or suspicious thoughts. The research team is using inclusive design techniques to help form a better understanding of both the therapist’s and the patient’s experience of therapy. The Thinking Well digital platform is used during therapy and provides easy access to therapy content. Outside the sessions, a mobile app provides a variety of tools to help patients keep sight of both the particular reasoning habits that cause their troublesome thoughts and more helpful ways of thinking.

A tubular lighting system that uses scaffolding brackets to create structures that can be illuminated. This is a low maintenance luminaire that can help prevent falls, light areas on construction sites and can even be used to create public infrastructure such as bike racks, hand rails, barriers.


The evacuation chair. OB have been commissioned by a client to improve the usability of their existing evac chair. Using their proprietary research methods OB has identified a numbers area where the product can be improved and is working to deliver a better product, improving on aesthetics, passenger transfer, storage and intuitively. The bar has been set high but from initial R&D the guys have got some great ideas to improve this vital piece of kit.

the-evacuation-chair the-evacuation-chair-prototype

As we closed the conversation I asked, who do you find exciting in our community?

“Everyone is exciting is their own way – anyone who makes a product we love. Textile companies work well here, from Khama to Fyodor Golan. There’s also who are bloody inspiring, they work so hard. Kidesign too, I’m envious of all the brown boxes that I see getting sent out. ”

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Posted By Krisi
Managing Director