Frame design competition finalist: Joyce Addai-Davis

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.

Joyce Addai-Davis

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

I never imagined that as a designer I could possibly create eyewear, I thought I was only limited to clothing but that changed after studying at the RCA. I discovered that brand aesthetic, eye for colour and functionality are some of the key ingredients to becoming a good eyewear designer. Entering this competition only confirmed my new found love for eyewear and hopefully a continuation of eyewear in the future. 

What were the challenges? 

I’m used to working with fabrics so working with reclaimed acetate was a whole new game. Not only did I cut the acetate by hand using hacksaws and coping saws but I also learned to mould and shape the eyewear to suit the ergonomics of my face. I did discover that for many years I wore eyewear incorrectly around my nose bridge, which is an issue for many black and brown people. By learning to make my own eyewear I guaranteed myself a more comfortable and more accurate fit even though it was my first one. 

What did you enjoy about the process?

Discovering that I could make my first eyewear without sophisticated machinery. By doing this, it allowed me to collage and experiment with colour, shape and form without being forced to decide its final outcome on a computer. I enjoyed going back to basics and using my hands 

Would you consider designing more frames in the future?

Yes, certainly. If the opportunity was offered to me I would certainly take it. Even though my first frames were made by hand I would like to explore computerized processes, create a more commercially viable range but still be able to make one-off bespoke pieces as and when required. 

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