RSA Student Design Awards 2019/2020 - International Design competitions for students


RSA Student Design Awards 2019/2020 is now open for entries!

RSA Student Design Awards 2019/2020

The RSA Student Design Awards is opened for entries in its 96th year calling all creative problem solvers, higher education students and recent graduates to demonstrate the potential of design to unravel complex problems, explore new possibilities and unlock new ways to meet the needs of people and our planet.


Now in its 96th year, the RSA Student Design Awards, an global curriculum and annual student design competition has been recently announced for edition 2019/2020.

Each year this student competition challenge emerging designers to tackle a range of design briefs focused on pressing social, environmental and economic issues.

The goal is to empower a generation of savvy, employable designers who understand the potential of design to benefit society. This is encouraged through a competition that challenges students and recent graduates to think differently about design, by tackling briefs focused on real-world problems.

The briefs for 2019/2020 edition are:

• AI 100 — How might we use AI to support people to reach a happy, meaningful and productive one hundred year life?
• Cultivating Community — How might we reimagine common spaces to build diverse communities through food?
• Make Fashion Circular — How might we use circular design principles to innovate the way we produce, use and access everyday clothing items?
• Healthy Routes — How might we make active travel accessible to the ageing population that will, in turn, make it better for all?
• Branching Out — How might we harness broad-leaved woodlands and their resources to increase their local economic, social and environmental value?
• A Platform for Joy — How might we unlock joy for people at train stations?
• Just about Managing — How might we enable households and families to be more economically secure? Dignity in Displacement — How might we support displaced individuals to find hope, dignity and safety to rebuild their lives?
• Moving Pictures — Conceive and produce an animation to accompany one of the two selected audio files that will clarify, energies and illuminate the content.

For all brief EXCEPT ‘Moving Pictures‘ the submission requirements are:

• 1 x A3 PDF Hero Image, with project title and 1 sentence description - a singular ‘poster image’ that conveys the essence of your project, and includes your project title plus a 1 sentence description. For example: ‘Bare Technology: a product and service design solution to convert old computers (e-waste) into simpler, more straightforward, accessible computers for older people’. Your hero image should aim to bring your concept to life – make sure it is vibrant and engaging.

• 1 x A3 Written Summary - a single A3 PDF page that summaries your big idea using the following format:

- Problem (50 words max)
- What is the specific problem you identified within the brief topic?
- Who experiences this problem, and how does it impact them?
- Process (75 words max)
- How did you investigate this issue – what were your key insights?
- What journey did you go through to get to your final solution?
- Solution (50 words max)
- What is your proposed solution?
- How will it solve the problem?

• 4 x A3 PDF Boards Outlining Your Proposal - 4 pages describing your proposal and demonstrating that you have met the 6 judging criteria. Each board should include a heading. It is important that you number each board in the top right hand corner, in the order you want them viewed by the judges.

• 4 x A3 PDF Pages of Supporting Material - up to 4 A3 PDFs of additional material illustrating your development process – this could include scanned pages of your sketchbook or computer modelling (if applicable).

Your entire should demonstrate a design thinking approach to the brief and clearly communicate the following principles:

• Social and environmental impact;
• Rigorous research and compelling insights;
• Systems thinking;
• Viability;
• Creativity and innovation.

Each RSA brief is judged in person by a different panel of designers, industry experts and social innovators in two stages: anonymous shortlisting, followed by interviews with finalists.

All winners are invited to the Awards Ceremony at the RSA which includes a keynote talk by a high profile figure, the presentation of the awards and a drinks reception with networking.

Entry fees:

• Early Bird Rate (before 12 February 2020) - reduced early bird rate of £25 per entry.

• Standard Rate ( 13 February 2020 - 11 March 2020) - £35.


The competition is open to currently enrolled students and new graduates from anywhere in the world. Responses can come from individuals and teams, and any discipline or combination of disciplines – from product, communication and service proposals to spatial and environmental solutions.


The Awards include over £30,000 in cash prizes and paid placements. Winners also receive practical support from the RSA and their partners, and join a global community of alumni that includes Apple Design Chief Jonathan Ive, digital public services mastermind Ben Terrett and Forbes ’30 Under 30’ social entrepreneurs Elena Dieckmann and Ryan Robinson.

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