The Big Blog Backlog – Part Six: Collyer’s ‘Designing for the Future’ competition 2011

Late last year, I was invited to be part of a judging panel for The Future Perfect Company’s ‘Designing for […]

Late last year, I was invited to be part of a judging panel for The Future Perfect Company’s ‘Designing for the Future’ competition being run at my old sixth form college, The College of Richard Collyer AKA Collyer’s. Of course I jumped at the chance, having thoroughly enjoyed being on the judging panel the previous year and I was looking forward to seeing what this year’s students had been working on to meet the brief. So without further ado, I’ll pass you over to Phillipa Aldrich, founder of The Future Perfect Company and the brains behind the ‘Designing for the Future’ competition, to tell you all about it…


An ergonomic shopping bag handle which stops you forgetting your shopping has won first prize in this year’s “Designing for the Future” competition run by The Future Perfect Company and The College of Richard Collyer in Horsham, Sussex.

This popular competition, which is now in its second year, encourages young designers to think about the challenges that an ageing population presents – and to create innovative, attractive and aspirational designs that allow people to continue to live enjoyable, active and independent lives as they get older.

The winning design by Collyer’s AS level student, Alex Francis is an ergonomic handle designed to hold a number of shopping bags with a unique reminder ring which makes sure you never leave your bags behind again.

The runners up were no less ingenious. Mike Davies designed a vibrating pillow alarm clock ideal for people who are deaf or have hearing loss and also considerate spouses not wanting to wake their partner; Isabelle Parker devised an elegant heated back support and Sam Hammant came up with toast tweezers – perfect for extracting annoying pieces of toast stuck in the toaster. Aston Cheesman’s design was a clever chair port with adjustable tray table and Ben Palmer took the idea of long handled back brushes a stage further with his shower aid which is pre-loaded with shower gel.

Says Philippa Aldrich, founder of The Future Perfect Company :” We are delighted to be running this competition for a second year with Collyer’s and their excellent Arts faculty.  With design education under threat, we think it is very important to be supporting young designers in this way, particularly when their creativity and skills will be essential to us all as we get older. The Horsham district has one of the fastest ageing populations in the UK and there is a real need for designers to think about the challenges that will bring.  Alex’s shopping bag handle allows you to carry more than one shopping bag comfortably. And the reminder ring makes sure you never leave your shopping behind. Although designed with older people in mind, this product has universal appeal and would be really useful for Christmas shopping!”

Judge Craig Barrow commented “The students showed a high quality of research and development within their chosen areas of work producing a wide range of ideas and interesting concepts. Congratulations to the winners.”

The competition was open to Collyer’s students on the GCSE Advanced Subsidiary Product Design course and is integrated into that course. Last year the exam board congratulated the College on using this live brief.

The judges included Denise Stephens (co-founder of online design community Enabled by Design), Craig Barrow (former winner of the “Designing for the Future” competition at University of Brighton), and Philippa Aldrich (founder of The Future Perfect Company). Tutors Kate Sharp (Faculty leader – Arts and Communications) and Hari Atkins (Subject Leader – Product Design, Materials) acted as advisors to the judging panel.

 Kindly provided by Philippa Aldrich, founder of The Future Perfect Company