Phon is a pair of over-ear headphones specifically designed for comfortable use in warm environments or while working out, with an emphasis on intuitive user operation, and product longevity. Tim Sutton-Brand’s research showed a huge potential for a product in this category, with almost all sports headphones on the market being of the in-ear style, despite over 2 million people in the UK alone using over-ear headphones at the gym regularly. This issue of discomfort while wearing over-ear headphones is a problem that can be even worse in warmer climates, with this warmth causing excessive sweating around the ears and head. Phon includes a thermoelectric Peltier cooler system which cools down both the air around the user’s ears, as well as the graphite-gel infused memory foam that makes up the thick cushioning in contact with the user’s skin. A heat sink and exposed vent allow the thermal energy to escape from the closed system. Focus groups shaped Phon’s intuitive control system with self-orienting left/right earcups, rotating wheels used to control volume and media playback and automatic turning on/off when the headphones are unfolded.

Sutton-Brand sets out to design intuitive products and systems that are accessible to a wide variety of people.

“I pride myself in designing creative, innovative solutions to problems that are well considered in all aspects including environmental and ethical issues. I am a firm believer in designing products that age well, and last for many years rather than incorporating planned obsolesce, or poor quality components”.

In 2018 Sutton-Brand spent a year in industry working as a Product and Packaging Designer for Peter Black, designing packaging for high street retailers including Sainsburys’, Boots, Morrisons and Superdrug. He is currently working at 8th Wonder as a Product Designer working as part of a small team designing plush and wooden toys under a variety of different brand licenses.