The Royal Society of Arts' Student Design Awards have been an external independent measure of the student design talent for decades. They offer challenging relevant briefs to undergraduate designers in the UK and through Art & Design Colleges worldwide.
Christopher Doyle, a Product Design BSc student has won this year for designing, 'Morty', a multifunctional educational toy with four modes of use. Morty's design incorporates packaging and up cycling of household waste as a part of the play experience, and encourages a regenerative cycle of play that minimises waste.
Northamptonshire is a centre of toy design and distribution. The Product Design Course has been building up a relationship with these firms for the last ten years through collaborations.. Exhibitions and specialist research has been undertaken and fed into teaching through live projects and tutorials. We have been involved with a series of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships designing toys and playthings and these have had significant impact on the community.
Vicki Thomas was invited to attend the presentation evening with Chris, both very pleased and proud of this achievement but also all the work produced from the course team. They were given a tour of the building and encouraged to become more actively involved with the RSA and invited to apply for fellowship. All prizewinners became Fellows for a year, the financial prize varies with the projects and sponsorship but all received a very tactile oval hand sized engraved stepping stone.
This year we have decided to encourage students to enter in both the second and third year. One thing we did learn at the presentation is the surprising fact that many well-known winners entered and won twice. We shall have to wait and see how our students meet the challenge and that includes designing for children again this year.