It’s a game of two halves.

Let’s cut to the chase. There are a lot of student design competitions kicking around, but this one is a bit different. To explain why, let’s start with a quote:

“Design is thinking made visual”

Saul Bass said that. When we read that, it sparked an idea. We – The Big Picture – do design research for some of the world’s biggest brands, informing the strategy behind changes to their packaging, logos and more besides. We want to celebrate how design research supports the ‘thinking’ behind great design.

So: we proudly present to you the world’s first design + research competition – where it’s as much about the ‘thinking’ as it is about the ‘visual’. We want you to take on students at other design schools in a competition through which you’ll need insightful research and a visionary design to win.

I’m in. What’s the challenge?

Ok, here it is: choose from one of these twenty brands and combine great research and visionary design to re-imagine it for the future. Here are the brands you can choose from. Something for everyone in here:

It’s a game of two halves – a research bit (first) and a design bit (second).

Supermarket shelves

The research bit

We want you to conduct research to uncover and explore the trends that could affect your brand in the future. We’re not talking hundreds of years in the future, but we want you to think about what trends might affect your brand in the next twenty or so years.

‘Trends’ covers design, consumer, social, economic, technological, environmental – all sorts.

To get you started, you could think about some of these questions:

  1. How might the needs of consumer change in the future?
  2. How can the brand evolve to play a more useful role in consumers’ lives?
  3. As the world becomes more digitally focused, what will the role of packaging have in the future?
  4. How will the brand story be told in the future?
  5. How might sustainability change the rules of design?

Research can take many forms, but we want you to go beyond Googling. Instead – get talking!

  • Ask your mates
  • Ask your mum
  • Ask some bloke who just bought your brand in the supermarket
  • Start a Twitter conversation on the subject
  • Skype someone on the other side of the world
  • Do whatever it takes to get under the skin of the issue…
  • (just don’t break the law, or we’ll get in trouble).

After a bit of head-scratching, your research should yield an insight which leads you to some kind of ‘one sentence hypothesis’ about the future landscape your brand will be in.

With that in the bag, you’re ready for the design bit.

The design bit

Based on your research, you now need to write your own design brief which outlines the design challenge for the brand.

Based on that, we want you to creatively re-imagine your chosen brand, including:

  • Its packaging;
  • Plus, at least one or other touchpoint:
    • Identity
    • Brochure
    • Advertising
    • Digital
    • Point of sale

What you need to submit

  • A research summary (PDF, maximum 2 x A4 pages – portrait or landscape) detailing what you did and what you found out, including:
    • Who you spoke to and what method(s) you used
    • What your findings are, including a ‘one sentence hypothesis’ for your brand
    • How your findings/hypothesis influenced the design brief
  • A design brief (PDF, maximum 1 x A4 page – portrait or landscape), which will outline:
    • The situation for the brand (based on your findings)
    • The resultant design objectives
  • The re-imagined design for your chosen brand (PDF – portrait or landscape):
    • 1 x A3 of pack design(s) at lifesize (page size permitting)
    • 1 x A3 for each additional touchpoint (at least one of identity, brochure, advertising, digital or point of sale)

None of the pages should include your name or institution (we’re anonymously judging – we’ll add these on if exhibited as part of the shortlist) but just your entry number in the top right hand corner.


How your design will be judged

The winning entry will demonstrate ‘joy in the journey’ – great research which yields strong insight, which in turn underpins some brilliant creative design.

Specifically, the work will be judged on:

The research bit:

  • Thoughtfulness and creativity of methodology
  • Strength of insight(s) gained
  • Clarity of the ‘one sentence hypothesis’ vision

The design bit:

  • Vision and clarity of design brief based upon research insights
  • Brilliance, impact and distinctiveness of design execution