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Service Design (MA)

Giulio Ferrato

I'm Giulio Ferrato, a Service and Product designer born in Padua (PD), Italy.

After high school, I studied Industrial design at Politecnico di Milano. During my three years of study there, I worked on a wide range of projects: from a diving tool to a modular workstation. This period helped me learn a design methodology that I took with me during my year at the RCA, and I will take with me in the future.

After graduation, I choose to move to China to work as a product designer at Entre-prises, one of the world's biggest climbing wall companies. In this experience in Asia, I started to apply the methodology I learned at the Politecnico, and, fundamentally for me, I met new cultures, also through different solo travels (another of my passions) in various countries of Asia.

Then I moved back to Italy to experiment with my graphic skills as a visual designer at Letasca, a fashion brand based in Milan. During this period, I have learned new skills and tools that helped me in developing my storytelling skills.

This previous time spent learning and experimenting with different design aspects brought me to focus on human-centered design. Design with people at the center of the creative process. With this new focus, I have felt the need to expand my knowledge by specializing in Service Design at the "Royal College of Art". I've chosen service design to learn how to create an impact on a societal level by having people at the center of the discussion.

During this period at the RCA, I have been working on a wide range of projects learning how service design can be used to create an impact in the society, collaborating with project partners such as Ernst & Young, Rainbird, Met police, and the Aalto University.

This exciting time at RCA has allowed me to explore and feed my curiosity in many very different projects, from a platform for better communication between the police department and citizens to a service that, through A.I. technology, helps financial organizations tackle its customers' financial vulnerability.

Previous Degrees

BA Industrial Design, Politecnico di Milano, 2018


Product Designer, Entre-prises climbing wall, Guangdong, China, 2018;

Visual designer, Letasca, Milan, Italy, 2019


Milan Design Week Fuorisalone, “Illuminazioni”, ZONA SANTAMBROGIO, 2018; 

My previous study and work experiences and these years at RCA have shaped my vision of design. I began to embrace the idea of ​​putting the human into every process of my design method. From research to prototyping, people become a fundamental aspect of creating and validating ideas.

There are different approaches for a project that help bring people to the center. I have experienced the Co-design approach in different projects. When it is applicable, it is one of the best options to generate value for all stakeholders.

Going forward, I would like to explore how technology can be used as a tool to deliver impact through a human-centered service design method.

Aethos - The future of values-driven purchases 

During the last term, I worked with Benedetta Locatelli and Conor Mc Donald Heffernan in collaboration with a major payment provider to come up with a vision to transform the future of values-driven purchases. 

Do you know where your clothes come from? What if you found out they were made in an unethical or unsustainable way? Would you still have bought them? The gap between our values and the purchases we make is becoming wider.

This is why we created Aethos: the service to issue the 21st-century receipt. It combines a fully automated platform that enables the receipt to be issued, with a hybrid model that facilitates a supply chain verification process.

On the one hand, Aethos is an engine for transparency that empowers conscious choices by revealing the real story behind products. On the other, it’s a megaphone for people to promote transparent brands and hold opaque ones to account through our #knowyouraethos social media movement.

We’ll deep dive into the receipt first, and then we’ll look at Aethos verification.

Discover the 21st-century receipt
Understanding the verification engine

Discover the 21st-century receipt

We are not the first group of people to tackle transparency, so we felt it was very important for us to look closely at the assets already in play and re-envision a better version.

Receipts are still an integral part of the retail experience. Ours works as a proof of conscience, displaying the information that matters most to consumers about their products. It comes in paper form or email form, linked to an interactive web app version that brings to life the stories of the producers and places that created the product.

A big part of the power of the Aethos receipt is its ability to empower ethical fashion brands and hold others to account. Sharing the receipt of a transparent product displays the brand's name and a confirmation that the clothes are exploitation free while opaque brands are prompted to make their product journeys transparent.

Understanding the verification engine

Aethos verification enables brands to prove their supply chain claims. It relies on blockchain combined with physical technology to track a product’s journey from farm to shelf. This location data is cross-referenced by us with existing databases and certifications standards. Our approach is to use existing trails to legitimise and authenticate supply chains rather than add another level of certification.

Our tracking process uses unique molecular tracers that enable us to physically verify a material’s point of origin, paired with NFC tags that function as a digital marker. These are scanned along the production journey and relayed to our Blockchain-based app. This secured digital ledger registers the tag ID and location data of the smartphone when it’s read.

By combining proof of location underpinned by a decentralised system, with the work of existing verification bodies, we can create real transparency in establishing whether products are truly exploitation free.

Would you really want to know the real story behind your possessions?

"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

(Oscar Wilde)

Theory of change

Theory of change

Our theory of change foresees that with the creation of the 21st-century receipt, we can impact more brands to be fully transparent of their supply chains and eradicate greenwashing strategies.

The social media movement will empower people to hold businesses to account and hold themselves to account, to establish a future where our purchases are truly driven by our values.

Sharing information about the places and stories of the people behind products, while also bringing to attention relevant political debates empowers consumers to learn and educate themselves, giving rise to future decisions that are more informed and conscientious.

Our long-term vision is that the journey of every single product on the market becomes transparent, as consumers progressively stop buying from brands that they know are not.

Please watch the video below if you are interested in a more complete run-through of how Aethos can impact the world.

Project pitch — Please watch the video if you are interested in a more complete run-through of how Aethos can impact the world.

A special thanks to Elin Surjsen and Cedrine Streit from the VISA Innovation & Design Team for guiding us throughout the project, to our tutor Judah Armani for his unwavering support, and to our Head of Programme Clive Grinyer for pushing us to think further. I would also like to give a special thanks to the fashion SMEs, retailers, and people who gave us time out of their busy days to help make Aethos possible.

Benedetta Locatelli (MA Service Design)

Conor Mc Donald Heffernan (MA Service Design)