Product Design student wins prestigious industry prize

Date 16.11.2015

A toy designed by Christopher Doyle, a third year BSc Product Design student within the University of Northampton’s School of The Arts, has won a prestigious prize in the Royal Society of Arts’ (RSA) Student Design Awards.

Attracting nearly 800 applications from students and new graduates around the country, the RSA Student Design Awards challenge emerging designers to tackle pressing social, environmental and economic issues through design thinking. The competition recognises the very best in new talent, with just 20 winners awarded nationally each year.

Christopher’s design, ‘Morty’, is a multifunctional educational toy which incorporates packaging and up-cycling of household waste as a part of the play experience. The toy encourages a regenerative cycle of play that minimises waste. The entry included a full design proposal and a professional presentation to a competition jury at the RSA Headquarters in London.

Christopher’s £1,000 Natracare award will enable him to fund the production of his final major project working prototype, further his computer aided design skills and fund a work experience placement with DeeThree Design Consultancy.

Christopher commented: “I was not expecting to be shortlisted let alone win! Designing, creating and making are things I enjoy and to be applauded and appreciated in such a way is amazing! I’m over the moon and so grateful to everyone at the RSA for this opportunity, to my supporting lecturers who facilitated my work and to my fellow hard working students who have helped me and my projects develop by pushing me further than I could have on my own.”

Chris Doyle's award-winning design

Commenting on the project, one of Christopher’s tutors Friedemann Schaber, Senior Lecturer in Product Design said: “On the BSc (Hons) Product Design course our students will experience national and local competition and realistic industry based project work set to working deadlines and deliverables.”

Friedemann explained: “The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Student Design Awards encourage students to define and solve technical, aesthetic and user centered content of design problems in a real world context. Typically University project briefs will be set or referred by an external agency such as a live client from industry or community, or competitions such as this. Chris responded to the ‘Fair Play’ category call; the brief asked to generate a consumer toy and its product design packaging to minimise waste and environmental impact. Chris integrated packaging in his solution, addressing sustainability and behaviour change. This resulted in a play experience, which evolves through several increasing creative levels. The RSA commended him for his thought process, focussing on the user.”

Christopher will receive his award at a prestigious event at the RSA in their London headquarter on 11 June 2015 and his work will go on display, along with other winners, in an online showcase from 26 May 2015. For further information regarding the competition, visit the Student Design Awards website.

Visit the course page for more information regarding the University of Northampton’s Product Design degree​.