Frame design competition finalist: Erin Yuwei Yang

Do you ever wonder how spectacle frames are designed? Students at the Royal College of Art have a chance to take part in an exciting design competition each year, and the winning frames are displayed at the eyewear industry’s trade show, 100% Optical. Read on to meet one of this year’s finalists.

Erin Yuwei Yang

What encouraged you to enter the competition and design your first glasses?

I used to be a jewellery designer and obtained a Bachelor’s degree. While studying jewellery design I already had a lot of experience that I could apply to frame design, such as making hinges, joinings and handling details. However, I am now focusing on making bags and have not had the opportunity to apply my jewellery design knowledge for a while. So I thought it would be interesting to apply my experience in a new area. And I also wear glasses. I wear glasses 16 hours a day. So there was no reason not to participate in this competition.

What were the challenges of designing a pair of specs?

At first I had the idea to design my own hinges. I didn’t want to buy metal ones, that wasn’t my idea. So I built models in 3d software. The process of finding research was interesting and I went to a lot of opticians for inspiration. Meanwhile Steve helped me to check in Rhino software if they could be opened and closed by 90 degrees. I modified the model many times, but the end result was very good. I realised it using 3d printing technology. It is so flexible after putting the screws on.

What did you enjoy about the process?

My frame was made by CNC and this was my first exposure to this technology. Thanks to Steve, who very carefully explained to me every step of the CNC and how to set up the data in the software and achieve it. The result was satisfactory, I got a whole pair of acetate frames with nosepads, which were then polished and they shone.

Would you consider designing more frames in the future?

Of course, the exhibition at 100%optical opened my eyes to the prospects and unlimited creativity in this field. I have seen so many interesting and sophisticated designs that I want to be one of the many frame designers.

Want to know more about courses that cover spectacle frame design? You can follow the RCA FAME course on Instagram.