Nils Achenbach

Advanced Product Design MFA at Umeå Institute of Design, Sweden

Born 19.05.1999 (24) in Aschaffenburg, raised in St.Peter, Germany.

Currently living in Umeå, Sweden.

+46 72-927 96 13


I was drawn to the discipline of design for its inherent link to aesthetics and innovation.
Design is a field that constantly challenges me to push my boundaries, offering endless opportunities for discovery and growth. Bringing my visions to life through the design process in a creative team to me is incredibly rewarding. 

During my bachelor studies in Coburg, Germany, I was introduced not only to the basic skills of designing and building physical objects in an iterative process. Also included were the neighboring aspects of design, such as marketing and business strategy as well as typography and graphic design. I am very thankful for this period of my studies since I was taught to stay naturally curious – not only looking at what is happening in the world of industrial design but also seeking inspiration in neighboring creative disciplines for my work.

In the past seven years, I was able to accumulate a wide range of digital and manual skills, allowing me to make my ideas and visions tangible as quickly and effectively as possible. During my early highschool education, I taught myself the Creative Suite from Adobe and its equivalent made by Serif: Affinity Designer. The latter became my absolute favorite for lightning-fast visualizations in 2D – even a decade later. 

Although the discipline of design has transformed radically to a more digital workflow in the 21st century – the creation of physical prototypes remains an essential component in my design process. A simple prototype, crafted out of paper, textiles, cardboard, other everyday objects, or a quick 3D FDM print, cannot be replaced by any rendering in the world. Being in workshops, trying out new ideas, and getting my hands dirty fills me with great joy. My prior experience in photography most often leads to the documentation of my design process – And if time allows I love to tell the story of my projects in short videos.

My digital toolbox comprises Affinity Publisher, Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, Keynote, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Lightroom Classic, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, Rhino 7, Keyshot 11, SolidWorks, Miro, and Figma. 

For physical prototyping, I have collected hands-on experience in 3D Printing (FDM, SLS, SLA), CNC milling, laser cutting, paper/cardboard and PU foam prototyping, processing and manufacturing with foil, film and adhesives, plastics deepdrawing, manual and automated sewing and knitting, CNC cutting and plotting, silicone injection molding, color mixing and spray painting.

The importance of prototyping

My design process is a tool for me to decipher increasingly complex issues. In today’s design world, there are numerous factors and stakeholders involved in the design process that can only be managed with a structured and tangible approach.

My way of working is characterized by a fast and iterative way of working with 1:1 Prototypes very early in a project. I have worked on many projects in the past years, building simple – but impactful – prototypes and refining my techniques. It never ceases to amaze me how little it can take to bring a theoretical and abstract idea to life in a matter of minutes using paper, foil, clay, 3D printing techniques, and by repurposing everyday objects.

This ability allows me to quickly evaluate ideas, share my visions with teammates – especially “non-designers” – and facilitate productive conversations. When I am working with physical or “fidgital” artifacts, it is crucial for me to hold the intended product in my hands, see how it feels, find ways to manufacture it, test materials, and iteratively perfect minute details.

I believe that my curiosity is the foundation of my design process. It allows me to question my own methods, reinvent, learn about new approaches, and questioning the status-quo.


Deutsch-Französisches Gymnasium, Freiburg – (2009 – 2017)
Graduated with the German-French Diploma

The Franco-German Gymnasium in Freiburg sees itself as a binational and bicultural encounter with special status based on the Franco-German Treaty of 1963. This provides close cooperation in the cultural field and coordinated efforts in education between Germany and France. From the age of 10 until my graduation, I grew up with classes including both german and french students. This encouraged me in being inclusive, mastering teamwork, and ultimately create my European identity.

University of Applied Sciences, Coburg – (2017-2021)

Program of Study: Integrated Product Design, Bachelor of Arts, Final Grade: 1,3

Founded in 1998, the Integrated Product Design Program of the University of Applied Sciences Coburg merges the disciplines of design, engineering, business, manufacturing, aesthetics, visual perception as well as human-product interaction. Students have access to a large workshop area that allows for the production of prototypes and mock-ups of the envisaged products. Specific lectures on material sciences, manufacturing technologies, technical mechanics, and ergonomics enhanced my understanding of real-world needs in future innovations.

Umeå Institute of Design, Sweden – (since 2021)
Program of Study: Advanced Product Design, Master of Fine Arts

For a record sixth consecutive year, Umeå Institute of Design has claimed the top spot in the Red Dot Ranking, listing top design educations in Europe and the Americas. The school offers a highly competitive, professional, and international industrial design education supported by leading research as well as cutting-edge technical facilities. The Red Dot Ranking is a reflection of the designs created by students over a five-year period.

The international and Swedish school was founded in 1989 to give future designers the best possible start of a life-long professional and personal career. As design is constantly evolving in response to changes in society and the environment, education and research at the Umeå Institute of Design aims to be at the forefront of addressing the future foundations of industrial design.

Students develop advanced industrial design skills with the toolkit and mindset needed to create, develop and design new relevant product solutions, exploring design through the lens of environmental and societal challenges. During my education, I had the opportunity to collaborate the well-known household appliance manufacturer Electrolux, Cisco, and the national Swedish police department for forensic investigations.

Practical Experience

Junior Industrial Designer at Coloplast, Humlebæk Headquarters – (since 03/2023)

Coloplast develops products and services to make life easier for people with deeply personal and private medical conditions. These conditions are often associated with trauma and taboo. The more intimate the condition, the greater the requirement to come closer to customers, understand their world and develop solutions that are sensitive to their special needs. Coloplast calls this intimate healthcare. The business includes Ostomy Care, Continence Care, Wound & Skin Care and Interventional Urology. Coloplast operates globally, employing more than 12,000 people.

Industrial Design Intern at Above, Studio Malmö (6 months)
Part of ARC Arise Consulting

Through a seamless fusion of strategy, design and technology, Above transforms businesses, brands, products and services and equip them for the future. As a team of creatives, Above helps them tell relevant and meaningful stories, creating real relationships between brand, product and user.

Industrial Design Intern at Phoenix Design, Studio Shanghai (6 months)

Since 1987, PHOENIX has been creating products, interactions and digital ecosystems based on the fundamental values of logic, morality, and magic. More than 800 design awards (1st place in the iF World Design Index) recognize and confirm the quality and continuity of the work worldwide, including the honorary title “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2018”. During my 6 months in Shanghai, I got to design for Asian clients and learned how to communicate my visions successfully. Including ideation, prototyping, CAD creation, and CGI visualization, this internship took my skillset to the next level. Living in one of the biggest cities on earth was a formative experience, revealing and inspiring.

Internship at smartfilmmedia in Freiburg (6 weeks)

Tasks: Attend the business of a TV- and Corporate film producer
Leadership and production of a corporate film for the German-French-Secondary School, Freiburg

Language skills

German (mother tongue)
English (excellent command)
French (good command)

Swedish (basic understanding)

Living abroad
Exchange in Nevers, France (2012)
Exchange in Brussels, Belgium (2014)

nternational Work (six months) in Shanghai, China (2019/20)
International Work (six months) in Malmö, Sweden (2022)
International Work (six months) in Humlebaek, Denmark (2023)

Studies in Sweden (24 months) in Umeå, Sweden (2021-2024)

Intensive traveling around the world (ever since)

Let’s do something great and put it out there.