Since winning the Bill Moggridge Award, Huda Khoja is constantly coming up with new ideas about how she will boost her design career.
Among the first is exploring ways to further her winning project, “Iro,” a new material created from reprocessed paint and ink waste that helps produce things like furniture, jewelry, and interior finishes. She is contacting companies that might be interested in using that material on a larger scale.
Travel also is enticing, given that her last trip to New York inspired Iro. But she is also keen to continue on her journey of learning. A master’s degree in industrial or interdisciplinary design might be in the cards, and exploring additional scholarships as part of that pursuit. She recently graduated from the Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton, Graphic Arts, thanks to a government grant from her native Libya.
“I’m really passionate about education and developing this further,” Khoja said.
Outside of her own education, Khoja also thinking about ways to instruct youth in Libya. One idea is striking a partnership to create a “school workshop center,” she said. It would be aimed at design training and education for kids who lack opportunities to study abroad.
Winning the award “showed me that no matter where you came from, no matter the background that you had, no matter if you were able to speak English a few years or not, you are the human able to change, able to develop if you got the chance to do so,” she said.
Khoja actually started out by studying medicine and computer science in Libya, but said she felt strongly that those fields were not the right fit. She was interested in storytelling, thinking creatively, and trying to sort problems. Seeking encouragement, she read about designers, including Bill Moggridge, who she said she holds in high esteem.
“Bill Moggridge, as a designer, has been a huge inspiration for me,” she said. “It was insane for me when they told me this award was named after him. I was like, ‘This is not a coincidence.’”
Khoja said she tends to think about design the same way as Moggridge, with an appreciation for its capacity to exact change. She takes this approach to heart, bringing awareness and visual language to projects, including one she is currently tackling on the refugee crisis. Human rights and politics constantly attract her attention as a designer.
“It shows me that I have a role to play,” she said. “I can raise their voices, bring up awareness to their issues, just like the RSA project.”
Khoja also likes to think about ways in which design can link different disciplines like math and poetry, or even how writers can build a story upon algorithms and mathematical equations.
“Design shows me I can link different stuff (such as) journalism, math, science, or whatever I'm interested in,” Khoja said. “I can bring it up and challenge myself in a creative, new way.”
When she thinks about her future and design contributions, Khoja said she hopes she will be able to inspire others to have an impact as well.
“I want to be remembered as a designer who can really make a change.”
To learn more about Huda and her work or to contact her directly, please visit her website.