Vicky Walker Head of Marketing

Winners of The RSA Student Design Awards

Winners of the The RSA Student Design Awards have been announced and presented with their prestigious award at a celebratory evening, hosted at The RSA on the 19th June 2019.

The RSA Student Design Awards is a global curriculum and competition for emerging designers that’s been running since 1924. The competition challenges students and recent graduates to tackle pressing social, environmental and economic issues through design thinking. This year’s briefs included commissions for tackling a range of issues, from disability and transit, to loneliness, food production and encouraging greater equality in childcare. Winners are rewarded with cash prizes, paid industry placements and a range of other benefits to kick-start their careers.

This year KD has created the ‘Hidden Figures’ brief in partnership with The Office for Disability Issues. This brief challenged entrants to design a way to break down the physical, organisational or attitudinal barriers that people with hidden disabilities or impairments can face in society, to enable them to live their lives to the full.

After a rigorous interview stage, where shortlisted entrants were invited to The RSA to discuss their design solution with the judging panel, two well deserving winners have been awarded the prize for the Hidden Figures brief.

Emma Sutcliffe Winner RSA Design Award 2019

The winner of the KD Placement Award and joint winner of The ODI Award of £500 is Emma Sutcliffe, of Loughborough University.

Emma’s winning project is Travel-ease:

A system that enables independent use of public transport for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. It provides the user with consecutive short instructions in an accessible format and reassures the carer or parent by providing discrete feedback through a wearable.

WINNER_RSA Student Design Award Travel-ease

Joint winner’s of The ODI Award of £1000 were Emer Fitzpatrick, Grace Hickey and Kate McCauley, from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Republic of Ireland for their project: Unseen:

An awareness campaign for all hidden disabilities that aims to bring visibility back to people via a discrete wearable asterisk symbol.

WINNER_RSA Design Awards Unseen_Hero

The RSA Student Design Awards competition has helped identify solutions and talent that have had a huge impact in the world, with over 100,000 students entering the competition since it began in 1924.

Previous winners include Sir Jony Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple; Betty Jackson, CBE, award-winning fashion designer and creator of many outfits on Absolutely Fabulous; Richard Clarke, Former Head of Innovation at Nike; and Bill Moggridge, Co-founder of IDEO and designer of the first laptop.

We’ve been massively impressed by the breadth of talent entering this year’s competition. The briefs offered featured some of the most challenging issues of our time. It was remarkable to see how approaches to design thinking have changed, and the use of new mediums, such as the design of public services, and animations. We’re excited to be hosting this historic competition again and give promising young designers a leg up for their future careers

Matthew Taylor

CEO of the Royal Society of Arts

Our 2019 winner Emma, with last years winner of the 2018 KD placement, Gabriella De Rosa
Our 2019 winner Emma, with last years winner of the 2018 KD placement, Gabriella De Rosa

Find out more?

Get in touch with Russell Beard, who is on the judging panel of The RSA Student Design Awards and our Head of Design