Winning Product Development – Eco Seed Student Perspective

Posted by Elysia Thorpe on January 16 2023

Design Ventura
Cambourne Village College student team at the Celebration Event at the Design Museum.

Students Amanda, Genevieve, Holly, William and Serena won Design Ventura 2021-22 with their product Eco Seed, a doughnut shaped grid which floats on water keeping seeds moist and provoking them to germinate. Here they talk about their experience of developing their design for sale in the Design Museum Shop.

‘As soon as we got the design brief about the five senses and knew that we wanted our product to be as sustainable as possible, we began coming up with ideas that would fit the design brief. After many different designs, we came up with a concept that allows you to grow a plant without soil or a plant pot. This applied well with the senses of sight, touch, taste and smell.  After many sketches, prototypes, iterations and 3D printed models we developed the Eco Seed.’

Regarding the sustainability side, we decided to use PLA as our 3D printing material because of its chemically degradable and recyclable properties, as well as its durability and waterproof properties.’

‘Once it was time to further develop our design for production and sale at the Design Museum’s shop, we collaborated with amazing designers from Batch Works and Triple Double. Together we discussed how our Eco Seeds could be manufactured and what kind of packaging it should be sold in. 

Changes to our Eco Seed consisted of printing the rings and grids separately (still in PLA), then clipping them back together, to reduce waste and manufacturing time, we also changed the grid shape from regular squares to a honeycomb pattern to make it more aesthetically pleasing.  

Regarding the colour of our Eco Seed’s ring and grid, was decided to test out different colours to see which ones reacted with the water and the seeds the least. After testing we concluded that the colours mustard yellow, and terracotta would be the best fit for our Eco Seed’s long-term use.

For our packaging we liked how our original one was very simple and allowed you to see the full Eco Seed, including the grid. However, to minimise packaging we decided to make it smaller and more compact whilst still allowing a window to view the Eco Seed’s grid, making the design even more playful and eye catching for all age ranges. 

Lastly, regarding the instructions, we were very keen to make sure anyone could understand how to use the Eco Seed. Our solution to this was to have illustrations rather than writing to facilitate universal understanding, and therefore use, of our product.

Collaborating along with designers from Triple Double and Batch Works was extremely enlightening​ ​and eye opening for us. Not only did we get to see how professional designers work, pitch their ideas and improve them based on feedback, we were also able to experience things from a client’s perspective. As the clients, we had a say about the next direction for the ideas and any requests or improvements. Everything was so much more professional.’

Students Prototype Product

‘Going to London was such an exciting and unforgettable experience for us. We participated in workshops before the awards ceremony and had the opportunity to talk to multiple people from a range of design related backgrounds. We also had the opportunity to hear about two successful people’s journeys in detail, relating to their careers, which gave us many insights into these in particular.

When we found out that we had won the competition, all we could do was look at each other in awe while processing this. Everything seemed so surreal, like a fantasy or a dream. We were all hoping to win but couldn’t quite believe it at first. The whole experience taught us that hard work does pay off and it’s given us confidence in our designs and creativity.’

Cambourne Village College with teachers and judges accepting their award at the Celebration Event.

‘We would like to say a special thank you to Triple Double and Batch Works for helping us improve our product and its packaging, as well as the Deutsche Bank for hosting the pitching event and, of course, the whole Design Ventura team and judges for giving us the opportunity to compete in the competition by shortlisting our team.’

Final product available for sale in the Design Museum Shop