Design School

School staff

Dr Vicky Lofthouse

Photo of Dr Vicky Lofthouse

Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design

Dr Vicky Lofthouse graduated from Loughborough University with a 1st Class Honours in Industrial Design, she then worked as a designer for the multidisciplinary design consultancy Johnson Haigh Rogers. She is an experienced researcher, lecturer and PhD supervisor. 

In 2001 Vicky completed her PhD in ecodesign at Cranfield University. Since this time she has engaged in research and consultancy in the general field of ‘the implementation of ecodesign and sustainability’.

Her research interests include: how to equipe designers with the knowledge, skills, interest, support and environment they need to create socially and environmentally responsible products, services and systems as part of the mainstream work; improving the environmental and social performance of products, services and packaging; and using creativity to develop innovative solutions.

Vicky has worked with multidisciplinary teams in companies such as AB Electrolux, DCA Design International, TheOneOff, Capital Standards, Giraffe Innovation/ RSA, Practical Action, GlaxoSmithKline, Huntleigh, Acordis, Jaeger and The Boots Company across a wide range of sectors - print, packaging, interiors, textiles, consumer electronics, and medical.

Outcomes include: developing and adapting ecodesign tools; integrating sustainable design thinking into live projects; developing conceptual product/packaging scenarios; understanding the consumer though the use of empathic design techniques; innovative concepts for consumer oriented refillable packaging; developing educational material for the RSA WEEE man project.

Vicky lectures on Design and Sustainability across the three years of the undergraduate design degrees and on two Masters programmes.  She  also runs the cross-disciplinary Design Thinking module and supports Collaborative projects at our Loughborough University in London campus.  

Vicky’s overarching research interest is how to ‘implement sustainable design related activities into core industrial practice.  Under this broad and challenging umbrella, she has been engaged in a wide range of research projects with both an industrial and pedagogic focus:

Specialities include:

  • Understanding how to enable industrial design practitioners to engage in more responsible design
  • Helping companies integrate ecodesign into their product development process and sustainable design into their business practices.
  • Communicating ecodesign and sustainable design issues to designers
  • Identifying opportunities arising from the challenges of sustainable design requirements
  • Practical experience of using ecodesign tools and teaching companies to use ecodesign tools
  • Solving ecodesign and sustainable design problems
  • Understanding how to raise awareness of the consideration of social issues in sustainable design education - (see my Social Issues cards)
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Developing educational material (see Dirty Carbon – carbon footprinting tool for design students; RSA WEEEman; Toolbox for Sustainable Design Teaching)
  • Workshop development and facilitation
  • Using creativity techniques to encourage future thinking
  • Project management using Grove visualisation techniques

Vicky has a growing reputation for her research on the international stage, having been invited to speak at conferences and events in the UK, Mexico, Hong Kong and France.  She has written over 50 peer reviewed publications and co-authored a book entitled 'Design for Sustainability: A Practical Approach'. She is a reviewer for a number of International sustainability and design journals and has been on the technical committee for 12 international conferences.

She is a Member of British Standards Institute Committee TDW4 for BS 8887: Design for MADE.

PhD students

  • Franziska Conrad
  • Marie Lefebvre
  • Richard Mawle
  • Alan Manley
  • Erin Leitch

Vicky has supervised 6 students to completion - Dr Debra Lilley, Dr Ricardo Victoria Uribe, Dr Gloria Elizondo, Dr Norman Stevenson and Dr Mariale Moreno and Dr Matthew Watkins and examined PhDs at Cambridge University, Newcastle University, Liverpool and Northumbria University.

In addition to her academic work, Vicky has carried out consultancy work for a variety of clients including: TheOneOff, WRAP, DCA Design, Capital Standards, Giraffe Innovation, Practical Action, GlaxoSmithKline, Huntleigh Technology and Electrolux.  Projects have included developing educational material for the RSA 'WEEE man' project, developing bespoke ecodesign tools, managing investigations into the implications of the WEEE Directive on a new product range and managing the development of conceptual product/packaging scenarios.

  • Lofthouse, V., (2013) "Social issues: making them relevant to undergraduate student designers", Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 8(2), June 2013, pp.8-23  Available from: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/12647  
  • Lofthouse, V.A. and Stevenson, N. (2013). Is the industrial designer’s changing role improving their opportunities for responsible design practices? Paper presented at International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) 2013, Tokyo, 26th - 30th August 2013. Available from: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/13157
  • Moreno MA, Lofthouse V.A., Lilley D (2011) Enabling Sustainable Consumption through User-Centred Design: An Approach, Journal Design Principles and Practices. An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.707-722. Available from: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/11812
  • Lofthouse, V.A., Trimingham, R.L and Bhamra T.A. (2009) Investigating consumer perceptions of refillable packaging and assessing business drivers to their use, Journal of Packaging Technology and Science, 22(6), February 2009, pp.335-348Available from: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/14874
  • Bhamra, T. A. and Lofthouse, V.A. (2007) Design for Sustainability: a practical approach, Gower, September 2007, pp.1-180, ISBN 0 566 08704 9. Lofthouse, V. A. (2006) Ecodesign tools for Designers: Defining Requirements. Journal of Cleaner Production 14 (15-16): p. 1386-1395.
  • Lofthouse, V.A. (2004) Investigation into the Role of Core Industrial Designers in Ecodesign Projects, Design Studies, 25(2), pp.215-227, ISSN: 0142-694X. DOI: 10.1016/j.destud.2003.10.007. Available from: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/1007

Key areas of expertise: methods and tools for sustainable design; industrial design; design thinking; Sustainable design education; Ecodesign /sustainable design implementation; Responsible design; Design Ethics; Sustainable packaging