Young creative minds put on display
The PolyU Design Annual Show has become Hong Kong’s yearly phenomenon in innovative design education, showcasing the daring creative minds of the young generations of designers. Hosted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) School of Design, this year’s annual show displays over 200 talented projects of the graduating students and students of various design programmes from higher diploma, undergraduate to post-graduate levels.
The dedicated creative pieces are displayed under the wide spectrum of study disciplines of the student-exhibitors, ranging from advertising design, communication design, environment and interior design, product design, digital media, interactive media, urban environments designs, multimedia and entertainment technology, to design practices, strategies and management. (Details can be viewed from:- https://www.polyudesignshow.com/)
To facilitate the visitors, about 40 projects from different disciplines are picked as the Tutors’ Choice for display at the podium of the show venue — the Jockey Club Innovation Tower, a spectacular architectural masterpiece which is also the home of PolyU Design.
Design for a better world
Among the Tutors’ Choice projects are Brian Lee’s design for addressing buskers’ problems, and Rita Lam’s design for meeting the needs of users of children’s medicine.
Both Brian and Rita said their studies, experience and exploration at PolyU Design have enhanced their senses and capabilities to apply design to address various issues, be it related to personal, small group, social, economic or cultural spectra.
“Having taken part in the social innovation activities at PolyU during my study period, I further recognise the great potential and possibilities for applying design to solve daily life problems of not only ourselves, but also various sectors in the society,” said Brian, a graduating Product Design student. “Design can be a very meaningful tool in improving the world, and I am enthusiastic to pursue such a meaningful career.”
ST3 for supporting busking culture
Brian has first-hand experience of the many difficulties faced by buskers, having participated in the street performing activities of his church, particularly the painstaking process of transporting equipment such as instruments and speakers. To this end, he came up with the ST3 design, which stands for Street, Stage and Storage. ST3 is a portable product that combines a small stage, a suitcase and audio equipment. It provides buskers a convenient way of travelling and, therefore, can focus more on putting on excellent performance and sharing with their audience.
The design is of a small roll-up stage with front and rear speakers. The stage can be placed horizontally or vertically in different formats for personal or small group performance. The base is equipped with LED lighting for visibility at night and for creating various visual effects. It also contains storage compartments in a trolley suitcase for storing equipment such as microphones, cables and music stands. Not only can this case serve as a tips jar, it also comes with a stand for displaying performers’ promotional materials and CDs. After the performance, the case can be easily moved with the roll-up stage, all in one go.
Brian said as this is only a prototype of his design, there are lots of room for improvement in terms of efficiency and quality. For example, light-weight yet strong materials can be used, and audio settings can be further refined. “I hope to contact companies specialised in amplifiers to look into the possibility of collaboration. I may also work on crowdfunding to obtain more resources to further develop or even mass manufacture ST3.”
User-centred design for children medicine
Rita, a Communication Design graduate, was bewildered by the packaging and instructions for most over-the-counter medicines which fail to address the needs of children and parents, making coaxing children to take medicine a daunting task. So, she designed a special series of packages featuring adorable animals. With comic illustrations of symptoms and medicine effects, both children and parents feel comfortable to use the medical products.
“Animals tend to be the favourites among kids, and cartoons can explain medicine effects in a simple yet effective manner,” said Rita, drawing on her experience as an art teacher for young children. There are also other thoughtful user-centred details, for example, the order and way of displaying medicinal information is re-arranged, to address the needs of parents following a user-questionnaire study by Rita; an eye-catching reminder is added to the package opening; handy instructions package is attached to the medicine to make travel easy; and the pills are made in a variety of colours and shapes to attract kids.
Rita believes that interesting cartoon characters can have great branding potentials for drug companies. “Besides being used for advertising, the characters can be applied in health education, parent-children activities or various branding campaigns, which help create a unique and positive brand image with potential long-term benefits.”
In addition to these two designs, there are some 200 creative pieces of young designers on display at the PolyU Design Annual Show 2017, which is now open to the public up to 15 July. Many concurrent events will also be staged during the show period, including the “6-6 Market” available for six Saturdays in six weeks in a row. At the Market, students and alumni of PolyU Design will showcase and sell their handcrafts and creative works, and communicate with visitors on their design concepts.
PolyU Design Annual Show 2017
Date: from now until 15 July (including July 1; closed on Sundays)
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Jockey Club Innovation Tower, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University