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In January of this year we were kindly approached by York St. John University to launch a project brief on behalf of Playscheme for their second year students. As you can imagine, this was an incredible opportunity for us and we were so grateful to be invited to take part in such an exciting project.
The entire project was a collaborative affair, between both the students and Playscheme, however on a larger scale, it was even more of a combined effort between us and the university, as all design departments including Graphics, Product and Interiors also worked in conjunction to create what was the finished proposal.
The project brief itself was quite simple, and this was to design, develop and present a package to Playscheme, selling a brand new and innovative product that will help us to compete in the school market place. The imagined product was to be free-standing, have maximum play value and moveable so that it could be transported and used in a multitude of environments.
We broke the brief down further to help students studying different areas of design to really think about the many components of the task in hand. This was split out as follows:
Graphic designers need to remember that this is a new branch for Playscheme and should be marketed accordingly, consider branding for new products. This might be completely different to our current branding. The instructions should be clear and concise and be easily followed by anyone, without any queries. Each product should include a user guide to show how best to maintain the product.
Interior designers need to consider space and usability of products indoors and outdoors in their setting. Do these products need to be stored away? Can they be left on display at all times without getting in the way? The outside of a school is just as important as the interior. It is basically another classroom but without the roof, especially in early years.
Product designers need to research appropriate materials, costs, manufacture methods and ensure the products are designed specifically for the user. Consider safety, image and what the customer actually wants.
We found that each member of the team came with a varied skill-set from their own design discipline, which was truly welcomed and gave them the opportunity to look at the task in hand from different viewpoints. This project was meant to give students an idea of what it would be like to work in a real design consultancy, and within a team environment. The groups really took this in their stride and using knowledge from all disciplines, they researched, designed, developed and delivered some extraordinarily unique ideas that met our project brief and far exceeded our expectations at the same time.
The project was a 12-week long project during which we visited the students six times to listen to presentations, look at visualisations and give our honest feedback. We were wholeheartedly delighted with the engagement and excitement that the students demonstrated and the effort that they invested into this project. Watching their presentations and witnessing their initial concepts, it was no surprise that we wanted to develop all of the ideas into saleable products.
At the end of this fulfilling collaboration, Playscheme got to choose the winning team, which of course one of the most exciting elements of the project. To do this, we fairly marked each team on how well they presented the concept and how well they followed the brief, before choosing a winner.
During this process, we have discovered some incredible and unique talent and are looking forward to working with the university again on future projects. Once again, we'd just like to thank York St. John University Design and every single student who pledged their time and efforts into this project. We believe that every individual involved has a successful future ahead of them from the design skills that we witnessed over the 12 weeks and we want to wish them the best of luck in their careers going forward.