Talented Charlestown native Honora Egan was awarded a prestigious design award recently at the annual IDI Design Awards in Dublin.
Ms Egan of Spear Product Design claimed the night’s most prestigious award, the Grand Prix, for designing the ‘Read Assist’, which helps people with dyslexia and reading difficulties. Speaking after receiving her award Egan, a Product Design graduate from DIT Bolton Street, said: “The opportunity to design a product that has the potential to really change the life of a child was the biggest stimulator for me as a designer.”
The Read Assist is designed to help people with dyslexia and reading difficulties to become more confident readers. It was the brainchild of mother Sheila Byrne, who wanted to help her daughter with her mild dyslexia. Sheila realised very early that Jenny (six years old at the time in 1995) was spelling words phonetically and was experiencing difficulty in focusing on one line at a time when trying to read.
The ‘Read Assist’ is a simple and beautiful design solution to a problem which, according to the Dyslexia Association of Ireland, affects between 2-10 per cent of the population. Honora Egan and fellow winner Greg Tobin, Managing Director of Spear Product Design, cite a blend of creative design, hard work and a close relationship with the client as the formula for their success.
Egan said, “Within five minutes of first meeting with Sheila we could see how passionate she was about solving this problem. Her enthusiasm was infectious and it only gave us more impetus to design a product that not only assists the reader but does so in a way that gives the user confidence to use it in a social setting such as a classroom.”
Commenting on Egan’s contribution, Tobin said: “Honora is a home-grown talent. Since graduating from the product design degree in DIT Bolton Street she has gone on to work on a number of internationally successful product designs. Her work for us has been absolutely fantastic.”