Alive Design

By Jo Phillips

Young fresh raw talent is critical in finding ways to capture the new thinking and also for new insights and facets to the world we all inhabit. New Designers, the UK’s largest design graduate show, has announced the winning entries for this year’s ND AWARDS 2020, including for the much-anticipated New Designer of the Year Awards, in partnership with Creative Conscience and the Business Design Centre.  The announcement, which took place as a digital ceremony (via the New Designers Facebook page). Read more about a handful of the winners here in Alive design. page.

With over 900 entries this year from universities across the UK, the ND AWARDS 2020 offers students engagement with established brands within the design industry. There is also the opportunity to win financial investment, mentoring opportunities, and even develop their submission into a product on the market.

This year each award partner developed and published a specific brief that students had six weeks to respond to before their submission was reviewed by a panel of expert judges. ,

Not unsurprising, the students responded to a variety of social, environmental, and health issues in their designs, reflecting the immeasurable impact that COVID-19 has had on their studying and daily lives. As well as many who called ou waste and environment issues in their entries.

. ‘A Lust for Leather’ by Imogen Gray speaks to the volume material waste in the design industry by repurposing leather scraps to create a new, more versatile composition material. The second winning entry is ‘Lade’ by Naomi McIntosh, which tackles the issues surrounding child poverty through a sustainably run community hub.

Sally BentEvent Directorof New Designers says: “Whilst this year has presented students with many obstacles, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to offer them the opportunity to participate in the ND AWARDS 2020. Our award partners have been so generous with their time and expertise in supporting this next wave of upcoming talent, and the results have been phenomenal.

I believe that the new format of our programme has allowed students to develop skills that will be directly transferable to the workplace, and has demonstrated their true capacity for creativity, adaptability and resilience. I can’t wait to see what they get up to next”

Here below are a handful of the winners some of whom answered our question, How does winning a prize help in developing your talent? 

Cluster by Alexandra Carr,

Award: The Belmond Award Winner: Alexandra Carr, BA (Hons) 3D Design (Designer Maker) at University of Plymouth

‘Cluster’ is a series of lamps made through an amalgamation of 3D printed components and hand sewing to create bespoke clusters of shapes illuminated from behind. By combining two modern and traditional techniques, Alexandra experimented with finding ways to attach a sense of preciousness to objects made from polylactic acid.

Working by Candlelight Bethan Jones

Award: Task Lighting Award by Anglepoise. Winner: Bethan Jones, BA Product Design at Bournemouth University

‘Working by Candlelight’ is a project that responds to the evolving working environment that has emerged due to COVID-19. As the workforce gets more comfortable with the idea of working from home, many of us are finding it harder to separate their work and home lives. This light helps to prompt the user to take breaks and stop work by providing a visual representation of the time that has passed.

‘Phloss’ by Chalie Boyle

Award: Joseph Joseph – Brilliantly Useful Design Award. Winner: Charlie Boyle, Product Design Engineering BSc at Brunel University ‘Phloss’ is an inclusively designed and sustainability-focused flossing alternative that uses a service system to distribute refills and utilise waste material, supporting a circular economy. Judges were impressed that “Charlie’s project identifies a clear problem with existing products on the market”and “shows real commercial potential”.

Charlie Boyle says

“It is always challenging to know if you’re on the right path with any design project. This year was especially challenging with reduced feedback opportunities and no physical contact with users. Having recognition from a company such as Joseph Joseph has strengthened the trust in my ‘gut feeling’ and given me more confidence in my individual style and ability to solve problems. Student awards offer the chance to stand out from surrounding projects and gain much-needed exposure, although the best ideas can be drowned out by distracting aesthetics. Awards should remember to recognise the design thinking before the final package”.​

Asset Stool Luke Foster

Award: The Sainsbury’s Argos Home Award: Future Thinking – Product Innovation, Design & Furniture Winner: Luke Foster, BA Product Design at Nottingham Trent University

The ‘Asset’ stool offers three types of saddle; a backrest, side table, and tray, positioning the product as an ideal choice for the recent move to remote working. In utilising threaded legs to pinch the saddle and seat together, the assembly remains screw-less. Luke’s project was described by judges as “a commercial product piece with a wellness lens and executed by using sustainable materials”.

Luke Foster said

“Being awarded a design prize from Sainsbury’s / Argos Home is a great indicator for me that I’m developing innovative products that have a potential place on the market. It’s a rare and wonderful confidence booster to have any product validated, and so I’m channeling this, and continuing to strive for great product experiences and articulation of form, – with reference to the future of the home. It creates a good benchmark to work towards in the development of newer products, while it helps in the evolution of my personal design values, as I continue to formulate the best strategy and ethos for each project. I’m genuinely thankful for the experience all round.”​

Award: Colour in Design Award: Furniture, Product, Industrial & Spatial Design, Visual Communications Winner: Naomi Cairns, Product Design at DJCAD, University of Dundee

‘Affinity’ uses colour to combat loneliness. Naomi’s product enables the user to send their thoughts and feelings through coloured light sequences which remind the recipient that friends are thinking of them. Judge Sebastian Conran, Founder of Conran Associates, commented that the project demonstrated “good insight, research and recognition of a need, good solution and thorough”

Naomi Cairns said

“Winning the Colour in Design Award has given me a boost of confidence when it comes to my work and makes me want to seek out more design opportunities in the future. I also think that it pushes me to continue thinking about ways I can develop and challenge myself as a designer. It also serves as encouragement to step out my comfort zone more often and push myself so, I can achieve my goals”

Nina Naversnik

Award: MOO Design Identity Award Winner: Nina Naversnik, Product and Furniture Design at Birmingham City University

This elegant light is made from a recyclable steel frame, with a biodegradable sugarcane head. Nina explained that the design “all started with an intriguing shape, reminiscent of an inquisitive being curiously leaning to one side. The more time I spent with this character, the more I learned about it”

Nina Naveršnik said,

“Winning an award is like someone saying: “You’re on the right track! Keep doing what you love doing!” and so for me it is an encouragement to keep exploring myself and the world around me. To keep creating. It inspires me to take on new challenges and to dream big”!

Award: Colour in Design Award: Textiles & Fashion, Jewellery & Precious Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass, Contemporary Design Crafts Winner: Zoe Noakes, Surface Pattern Design at UWTSD

For ‘Spectral Magic’, Zoe experimented with layering iridescent films and kiln-formed glass to explorethe aesthetics of ‘joy’. Using sculptural light and kinetic colour, Zoe’s work transforms empty spaces into sensory playgrounds. Judge Russell Whitehead, Co-Founder of 2LG Studio commented that Zoe was a “worthy winner”.

Zoa Nokes said
“Winning a prize within the design community is an enormous confidence boost. The recognition, encouragement and opportunities that come from it are significant, especially for a new design graduate. It confirms that your work is relevant, it provides momentum, pushes you forward and opens doors. Receiving a financial prize alongside mentoring and support creates fertile ground for creative problem solving and commercial growth. I’m so grateful that opportunities like this exist despite the backdrop of Covid, now more than ever it is vital that emerging creative talent is nurtured and put to work”.​

Award: New Designer of the Year Award, in association with Creative Conscience and the Business Design Centre: Environmental Design Award Winner: Imogen Gray, BA (Hons) 3D Design and Craft at the University of Brighton

Every year, 800,000 tonnes of leather scraps end up in landfill. ‘A Lust for Leather’ demonstrates. Imogen’s journey to redirect the offcuts used by local craftspeople in her area away from waste sites. The scrap pieces were eventually repurposed into a new composition material that goes beyond the natural limitations of leather, allowing the material to be cast in moulds. Judge Chrissy Livett, CEO and Founder of Creative Conscience commented that “Imogen looked at a huge environmental issue through a pragmatic lens, deep research & practical outcomes, we were really impressed with the level of thought, her design principles & techniques”.