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Retail Design Student Awards 2019 judging session completed

Entries to this year’s Retail Design Student Awards achieved a high standard, according to members of the judging panel who met to compare the projects yesterday (27 March).

The scheme saw students from six colleges tackling retail design briefs set by Costa Coffee, The Body Shop, and the Co-Op.

The Costa Coffee brief called for students to create ‘the smallest’ branch of the coffee chain, with students from Glasgow School of Art and the University of Huddersfield.

The Body Shop brief, presented to students from the University of the Creative Arts and Westminster University, challenged entrants to capture the brand’s reputation for campaigning.

The Co-Op brief asked for a design to introduce new community services into Co-Op conveniences store, and was taken up by students from Manchester Metropolitan University and Middlesex University.

Entrants have benefitted from design industry mentors at Fitch, which also hosted the judging session, YourStudio, 20.20, M Worldwide, Graven Images, and Innovare, as well as experiencing direct briefing sessions with the clients.

The judging panel was chaired by design industry consultant Lynda Relph-Knight, and consisted of:

Tesh Chauhan, formerly head of design at Pret a Manger
Jill Higgins, Kinnersley Kent Design
Ian Johnston, Quinine
Elliot Price, Household Design
Anna Sanders, Dalziel & Pow
Neil Speller, JHP
Jon Tollit, Gensler
Matthew Valentine, Retail Design World

The awards scheme is “Important for both the industry and the students,” says Anna Sanders of Dalziel & Pow. “It gives them a real grounding in what the real world holds and will give them that extra confidence

“It’s refreshing to see the work of young people with real ideas and thoughts that you don’t get to see in a job interview,” says Neil Speller of design group JHP. “Those are very prepared, but we are interested in what people can do day-to-day,” he says of the judging process.

“The standard was really high,” agreed Jill Higgins of Kinnersley Kent Design. “The ideas were strong. I’m not looking necessarily at the presentation. We are looking for people who can develop good ideas.”

“I thought there were some great ideas,” says Tesh Chauhan, an advocate of students getting as much practical work experience as possible. “Students at that stage of their careers need to be brave, and to nail down one good idea. We’ve had some good examples of that today.”

Ian Johnston of Quinine was impressed by the communication, design skills, and ideas on show from the entrants. “They all have bright futures. And hats off to the mentors for giving such great help and advice,” he says. “There were a lot of very employable skills to see.”

“I liked that there was a depth to the thinking shown in these entries,” says Gensler’s Jon Tollit. “It wasn’t just about interior design, there was a real understanding of customer engagement, and of the dialogue between customers and retail staff. Some of the students even included staff as being important to the brand communication in-store.”

Winners will be announced at RetailEXPO.