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A person holds a smartphone with the Terra Hex app open on the screen. Crops in a field are visible in the background. Text reading "RSA Student Design Awards Highly Commended 2024" appears in the bottom right corner.

AUB Graphic Design trio celebrates success at RSA Student Design Awards


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Three talented BA (Hons) Graphic Design students from Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) are celebrating following the Royal Society of Arts (RSA)'s much-revered Student Design Awards.

Tess Taylor was awarded the Young Innovator of the Year Award, in partnership with the Anjool Maldé Memorial Trust, which gives the winning student £1,000 for ‘an outstanding product and one with the most promise in terms of market testing of their innovation’ – as assessed under the RSA ‘viability criteria’.

Tess also came away with Highly Commended in the ‘Apply AI’ category, which asked, ‘How might we empower communities to use AI to tackle the local challenges of climate change?’

Her project, Terra Hex, is an AI soil sensor and app that promotes regenerative agriculture and accurate fertilisation to diminish farmers’ contribution to climate change and reduce overfertilisation, while fostering community-led mitigation of climate challenges.

"My dad works in agriculture, so I know through him the problems with fertiliser wastage..." Tess explains, "...with too much going onto crops, or in the wrong place, or simply not needed.

"I wanted to help farmers manage their fertiliser usage to reduce this wastage. We all know how harmful fertiliser can be to the environment, so if we can reduce wastage, we can lessen the damaging impact too, as well as saving farmers money and time.

"The Hex app provides a resource page to provide beneficial and accurate knowledge, mainly about regenerative agriculture. This ensures farmers stay updated on new information and practices effortlessly, addressing their limited time constraints."

Fellow student Ailsa Smith was also celebrating, as her project XPOSURE won an RSA Student Design Award for the ‘In your skin’ brief, which asked, ‘How might we increase the skin confidence of every young person to enable their unique identity to flourish?’

XPOSURE is a sun care brand, targeted at young men in construction jobs, which Ailsa confirms carry "the highest risk of skin cancer."

“I felt that men’s skincare isn’t promoted or encouraged in the same way as women’s," she says. "There is a massive encouragement for women’s empowerment which is incredible – I just felt this could be translated into a wider market.

"Through further research I found that men are twice as likely than women to develop skin cancer by the age of 50. Then looking further into skin cancer rates and finding men in construction are most susceptible, I felt this was a clear audience to target.

"Men in this field of work are stereotypically not ones to talk about their skin health due to stigmas, and are not encouraged to use sun protection whilst working; this is why I felt my brand would fill a gap in the market that is needed for the health of construction workers."

Furthermore, BA (Hons) Graphic Design's Amelia Blantern was also awarded Highly Commended in the Innovation Award category with her project, Steadym which aimed to redesign and reimagine the mobility aid.

She explains, "I used the redesign of the mobility aid as a tool to challenge existing stigma, increase motivation to go outdoors to exercise, and to reduce the fall rate in the UK which currently stands at a shocking six falls a minute. The community scheme aims to provide public, rentable smart mobility aids for older adults to encourage safe and independent walking outside.”

“Two wins and two highly commended for our design students in an international competition is an outstanding achievement," says BA (Hons) Graphic Design Course Leader Marion Morrison.

“Tess, Ailsa, and Amelia all showed their aptitude for responding closely and innovatively to the briefs given, and the process has ideally equipped them to become part of the solution in delivering social and environmental benefits across different communities in the years to come.”

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