RSA Student Design Awards Winners

Rebecca Ford kicked off the RSA Student Design Competition by introducing the RSA Student Design Awards Briefs to our BA(Hons) Graphic Design Level Three students. Rebecca talked about the importance of empathy in design and the value of using design thinking to tackle complex social issues. The students really enjoyed her lecture. This year we had two winners in the RSA Student Design Awards. Over 900 students from around the world entered. There were 12 different briefs set in partnership with major industry sponsors,  it was such an achievement for Dan Hands and Melissa Casey to succeed in their shortlisted categories.

Melissa choose the ‘The Good Life’ brief. Melissa researched diabetes and situated her campaign in India’s largest slum, Dharavi. Her idea aims to raise awareness around foot care and empowers diabetes sufferers to identify the symptoms that can lead to gangrene and amputations (85% of which are preventable). Melissa not only researched the area in an incredible thorough manner but what really stood out with her submission was the way Melissa synthesised and communicated such a complex issue using considered typography and illustration.



Daniel Hands picked the ‘Fair Share’ brief. Dan’s created The Sharing Club: a Union for people who don’t have a Union. The brief which was sponsored by Airbnb asked people to design a way to keep the sharing economy fair so that more people will be empowered to use it. Dan created a service design proposal for a new ‘union’ for people who participate in the sharing economy where they have more power to address issues; the aim is the participants in the sharing economy are valued more as employees rather than disposable assets. What really stood out in Dan’s solution was not only the way he researched the topic by doing interviews, going online and experiencing AirBnB first hand, lots of desk research in and around the topic but Dan considered the brand and functionality of the website. Dan used his skills in research, branding and information design to communicate the wealth of information on the subject in a clear and concise manner.


Good research synthesis, criticality and design thinking were key in tackling both these briefs. Melissa and Dan really got to grips with the complex areas that they were asked to explore. It is such an honour to have not one but two winners from our course, of what is such a prestigious award. We are really looking forward to the awards evening at the RSA on the 20th of June. Watch this space for more updates!

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