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  • How to submit your entry: step by step guide

    Here is your step by step guide on how to submit your entry. If you need further advice, please refer back to our finishing up resources or contact us via email:

    For a complete entry we need to receive:

    • complete online form for which this post is a step by step guide
    • 3 x A3 design sheets saved as pdf. We recommend that you add your school name to the top of each A3 sheet
    • optional budget template sheet saved as pdf. You can find a template Budget sheet template here.
    • completed teacher evaluation form
    • completed student evaluation form for all participating students (not just the winning team)

    How to complete your online entry form:

    1. Log in to the Design Ventura website  If you forgot your password, you can reset it here.
    2.  Click on “Submit your entry”.
    3. Work with the team to complete the online competition form. You have the option to save your entry as a draft or submit it.
    4. At the bottom of the competition form, you’ll need to upload your documents, preferably as one single pdf (see more about it on What to attach section)
    5. Once you are happy with your form, click “Submit your entry” at the bottom right.

    What to attach:

    • 3x A3 Design Sheets (make sure you add your school nae at the top of each sheet):
    1. Research and initial ideas
    2. Idea develpment
    3. Final design
    • These can be hand drawn and scanned, or created digitally.
    • Ideal file formats: PDF or jpeg.
    • Max file size: 3MB.
    • Please include your school name in each file name eg: Ventura Academy Design Sheets.pdf

    Please note: once you have submitted your entry you are not able to change it so please check it carefully.

    You might find our practise your Entry form useful in preparation of your final submission.

    Good luck!


  • Top #5 tips for your submission

    As we are getting closer to the submission day – 14 November at 5pm – we thought that you could use some last minute tips. For a detailed handout on how to submit your entry step by step, please click here.

    1. One submission per school. Remember, your school can submit only one entry so choose wisely! You can still feature other ideas on our website by submitting a blog post, or tweeting about it using the hashtag #designventura.
    2. Short and sweet. The shortlisting panel will be going through a lot of entries so make sure that your form is easy to understand and straight to the point.
    3. Be ready for submission. The final submission form is very important, please refer back to the judging criteria. When you log in to submit your entry, have your files saved on your computer ready for uploading. We recommend that you add your school name to the top of each A3 sheet and submit your attachment in pdf format.
    4. Evaluation form. Please make sure that both teachers and students fill in their evaluation form.
    5. Let’s do it! Enter your school’s idea even if you don’t think you have a ‘winner’. Our judges see the potential in all ideas. Remember: all schools that submitted an idea will receive certificates to mark your student’s participation.

    We cannot wait to see all your ideas! Good luck everyone!



  • Design Ventura video brief now available!

    Anna Bullus, Gumdrop Ltd introduces the 2017 Design Ventura Brief.

    Design Ventura Brief 2017 from Design Museum on Vimeo.

  • Design Ventura Pitching Day 2016

    The Ventura Team were very impressed on Monday when our top ten schools came in to pitch their products to our panel of judges. Everyone looked smart and had sent in their presentations before the day, so there was time for all the teams to have a short run-through of their pitches and to get some feedback from our volunteers.

    The judges; Alice Black, Asif Khan, Chris Ruse, Michael Skapinker and Sebastian Conran had a tough job choosing which teams to award prizes to, but they have reached a decision and all the prize winners will be revealed at the Celebration Event in February.

    Our judges (left to right) Asif Khan, Alice Black, Chris Ruse, Sebastian Conran and Michael Skapinker.

    Our top ten teams in the auditorium before the pitches begin.

    The judges deliberating over the top ten ideas.

    The day ended on a very hands on activity – redesigning an Ikea lamp.

  • Working as a high performing team – some tips

    A big part of your experience of Design Ventura is the opportunity to work like a professional design team. In this blog, I want to share some ideas about this to help you make the most out of this opportunity – and to set you all a challenge to be a really high performing team.

    What is a high performing team?
    Here’s a simple picture describing some of the features of a high performing team.

    Clear sense of purpose:
    Be clear on why the team exists and what you are there to achieve as well as how you are going to work together. In the team I am currently in, we have a motto or logo: One team, one dream. It’s a way of pulling us all together. Maybe create one for your team to help build that sense of common purpose?

    Clear about roles:
    You’ve been asked to pick roles in the team. What’s really important here is that everyone knows what their role is and that you all trust each other to get on with that role. It might be nice to share the roll of team leader role to give everyone the opportunity and experience of doing this.

    Get the job done:
    High performing teams keep going and help each other out.
    This is about turning up on time, pulling your weight even when the going gets tough. You will have good times and bad times to work through.

    Value differences:
    This is my favourite part of being in a team – learning to work with other people. Be open to the skills others bring to the team and don’t be afraid to be yourself.

    Final take away: Team Reflection Time
    A couple of simple questions to use at the end of every working session together:

    • What’s going well?
    • What could we be better at?

    Don’t let things go on for too long if it isn’t working well – it’s up to everyone on the team to take responsibility to say if something isn’t working or could be improved. Put the team first, invest your energy in making the team be the best it can be.

    In the words of Steve Jobs, Apple’s extraordinary founder, “the journey really is the reward.” Make the most out of working with your team mates, take something away from every session you have, show up, contribute, share, be the best team mate you can be– and really enjoy it, something magical can really happen when you are part of a high performing team.

    If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
    – African proverb

    Written by Siobhan McKavanagh, Organisation Design Specialist, Risk Division – Deutsche Bank

  • Photographing your product or prototype

    As you begin to prepare your Design Sheets for entry to the Design Ventura competition, you will invariably be thinking about how you are going to present your ideas visually. Drawings work really well to show your design concept, and diagrams and technical illustrations to accompany your written explanations will show exactly how your product works.

    A prototype/mock up of your product is a great way of showing our judges how your design will work and how it will look, so please make sure you include photos of these prototypes if you can. Here are some tips for taking a great product photo:

    Natural Light
    Set up a table near a window for your photoshoot – sun diffused through cloudy skies or a white sheet makes an excellent setting for a product photo. Really bright direct sunlight or a camera flash create strong dark shadows and make products look less attractive.

    Use a big piece of paper or a plain colour piece of cloth as your background to make your product really stand out. To create a seamless sweeping backdrop, stick your piece of paper to the wall and drape it over the table in front and then place your product on top.

    Learn how to create a seamless backdrop in this tutorial from Fstoppers.

    Set your camera or phone up on a tripod to make sure the image won’t be blurry. If you don’t have a tripod, improvise! Find a place to rest your camera and use the timer setting to make sure the photo isn’t affected by shaky hands. Sometimes, even a steady hand can create a blurry photo, so find away to rest your camera securely on the table for the optimum shot.

    To really help the Design Ventura judges understand your design, it is a good idea to take photos of your product from a couple of angles. If it opens, show it open and closed. If it has a great design on the other side, make sure to take a photo of that.

    Photos are a great way of telling your products story – Globe Academy’s Design Ventura entry for a foldable plate, Dish Dash, used photographs to help explain how the product worked.

  • What’s in a (brand) name?

    Picking a good brand name is an important part of developing your product’s brand. A good name will help your customers identify and differentiate your product from others. Your products name should be easy to notice and recognise, with a clear and obvious meaning. You should not need to explain what the name means or why it has been chose. It should be selected very carefully as it captures the key theme of a product in an efficient and economical manner.

    Brand names are not necessarily associated with the product. For instance, brand names can be based on places (Air France, British Airways), animals or birds (Red Bull, Dove soap, Puma) or even people (Victoria Beckham, Alessi).

    A check list for a good brand name
    Is your brand name:

    1. Unique and distinctive?
    2. Easy to pronounce, identify and remember?
    3. Representative of your product’s qualities and benefits?
    4. Suggestive of what the product does?

    If you have time
    You could conduct consumer research to see what your target market thinks of your brand name. It is important that when they see or hear your brand name, they are able to identify what the product is and does and they should be able to pick up on any key messages you wanted to convey. It would be helpful for you to give them an idea of the price and to show them the product, so that they understand the purpose of the brand name and the context in which it will be used.

    You may also want to consider if your brand name is easily convertible into foreign languages, and whether it would portray negative or wrong meanings in other categories. For instance NOVA is a bad name for a car, in Spain, because in Spanish it means “doesn’t go”.

  • How to make your product stand out

    What is a product?

    A product is a thing or a service that is sold to customers or other businesses. Customers usually buy a product to meet a need, as a result when a product is designed it is important that the requirements of the customer (the target audience) are carefully considered.

    What is product differentiation?

    Product differentiation determines how a product is made to stand out from other similar products, and it uses that difference to drive customer interest and sell the product. Product differentiation can be as simple as packaging the goods in a creative way, or as elaborate as incorporating additional features.

    Throughout the design process, the function, appearance and cost of the product need to be considered in relation to the target audience to ensure that it will appeal to the target market.

    How product differentiation is created:

    • Establishing a strong brand image(through packaging and logos)
    • Emphasising the unique selling point (USP), this can be done through the use of a product tag line
    • Offering better, features, functions, design, appearance or selling price than rival products.
  • Thinking about product packaging

    Packaging makes up an important part of your product. It does the following things:

    • contains and holds the product
    • protects the product from damage
    • informs the customer about the product
    • helps to create a brand identity to promote and sell the product
    • makes it easier to carry, use and store the product

    Cardboard containers are the most common type of packaging. The process involved in manufacturing a cardboard container is:

    1. Print the design onto card
    2. Cut out the shape of the carton, with tabs for gluing
    3. Fold the net into the container shape
    4. Glue the container together along the tabs

    Other types of packaging to consider:

    • Bottles and jars made from glass or plastic are used for liquids, granules and powders.
    • Plastic bags are used for food products and small loose items, e.g. snack foods and sweets.
    • Cans are used for food products. Drinks cans are made from aluminium and food cans are made from tin-coated steel (tinplate).
    • Bubble packs consisting of a stiff plastic bubble made by vacuum-forming fixed to a card backing – are used for small products, e.g. stationery items, toys and screws.
    • Shrink-wrapping– soft plastic vacuum formed onto card backing – is used for some small products, e.g. DIY products and toys.

    Packaging regulation
    The information given on packaging is regulated by laws and standards. Some of the most important principles are that:

    • the name of the company that made the product should be visible on the packaging. This is required by law.
    • the contents of the product (and its packaging) should be listed. This is required by law.
    • health and safety information about using the product should be given. This is required by law.
    • information about safely disposing of the packaging or container after use should be given.
    • bar code should be displayed for stock control and pricing purposes.
    • instructions for recycling the product and/or its packaging after use.
  • Tips for effective communication

    To be able to communicate effectively and engage your audience can be a challenging task and requires practice. Even politicians and public figures have practised speaking many times to develop this skill. The more you practice in front of a trial audience and ask for feedback the better you will be on the day of your presentation.

    From my own experience, speaking in front of an audience can be daunting. People pay as much attention to what you say as to how you say it.. So it is just as important to work on the way you deliver your message as the content.

    The key components of effective communication are content, structure and delivery.

    Ask yourself what you expect the audience to take away after your presentation and do not assume that your audience has previous knowledge about what you are going to talk about.

    Concise and simple content is more digestible than when it’s lengthy and detailed. Think about 3-5 main bullet points or headlines that best summarise your content.

    To structure your presentation it would be useful to ask yourself the below questions:

    • Who is your audience?
    • What is the problem?
    • What is your solution/idea?
    • What is your product?
    • What are the key features and how do they solve the problem?
    • Key takeaways

    Your presentation should be engaging to the audience – one person reading from a powerpoint is not very memorable. Some ways to make your presentation more engaging could be by asking questions, telling a personal story they can relate to or using puzzles and analogies.

    Body language, eye contact and tone of voice can also influence the impact of your message.Try using your arms when emphasising a strong point or modulate your voice.

    Planning ahead and practicing will give you confidence in communicating to an audience, not only when trying to pitch, but in any situation where you need present in front of a group of people..

    Finally, try to have fun and see your presentation as a chance to let people know about your unique idea!

    Written by Ha Dinh, Treasury – Deutsche Bank

  • A research tip

    We connect with products everyday. As part of your research consider the products you use that you could have a better connection with.

    The example shown here is a defaced Plectrum which the user has altered by drilling three holes so his grip doesn’t slip whilst playing his guitar.

    By Industry Expert, Jo Milton

  • Design inspiration and ‘ah-ha’ moments

    Simple ideas work best. Think logically and work methodically. We all experience processes and products which can be improved; here’s a great example of considered design:

    When we travel we connect with a product (our passport) this enables us to connect with people (visiting family, friends and business associates). Traditional entry and exit passport stamps are basic shapes, they are functional and simple, but Masahiko Sato’s design of the Japanese entry and exit stamps for Kenya Hara’s 2000 exhibition RE-DESIGN: Daily Products of the 21st Century, explores and re-thinks everyday processes and objects. This rethink puts a smile on the traveller’s face, creating an ‘ah-ha’ moment that is full of goodwill.

    Traditional entry and exit stamps

    ‘10,000 tourists a day begin their first visit to Japan, this simple change could produce 10,000 positive ah-ha’s a day, or 10,000 friendly feelings, borne via this small taste of hospitality’

    Kenya Hara, Designing Design Lars Muller Publishers, 2008

    Masahiko Sato’s improved entry and exit Stamps

  • Collaging Your Ideas

    A great method that will guide you though the design process and help you when collating your design sheets for competition entry is the creation of a collage, which by definition is a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric on to a backing.

    Collage is a visualisation technique that can help you to determine and express the colour palette of the product, materials, shapes; the context and even your target market as this new universe that you’re creating needs to relate to them.

    How to create a collage

    1. Decide what you want to communicate and brainstorm words that relate to your project. Using abstract concepts at the beginning will help you to broaden your imagination and give you more possibilities.
    2. Search images that relate to those ideas. Use magazines, newspapers, Google, and gather as much content as possible. Analogies from different disciplines are great sources of inspiration.
    3. Select the most relevant images and start playing around. Decide the orientation of the background; consider the size of the images, their separation/integration and structure the composition.
    4. Once the collage meets your expectations paste everything together or if you’ve been working with online images then use Illustrator or Photoshop, as they are great tools to modify the images and make them look exactly how you would like.
    5. The collage summarises the concept you’re working on. So how do you know if it´s right? Show it to your teachers, friends or even to your mum and ask them what they see… if they mention some of the concept you brainstormed, you’re on the right track. You could use some of these collaged visualisations of your ideas as part of your entry sheets if they really help communicate the feel of your product.

    Collages help structuring, developing, analysing and presenting visual issues that are difficult to express in words so if the direction of the project hasn’t been defined or you’re struggling with the user/ colours/ context then doing one is a great way to develop your ideas or a great way to consolidate and express your ideas for your design sheets!

    By Design Expert Andrea Amistadi

  • The Design Process – From Crisis to Creativity

    How to navigate the design process from crisis to creativity, with real world design project experience from Design Industry Expert Andrea Amistadi.

    Andrea explains more:

    Being that this year’s Design Ventura competition relates to the theme of move I want to share a project, which my friend and I worked on while being design students. The assignment was to develop a contemporary dance costume whose shape had to change when being used.

    Where do we start? Research!
    We researched the concept of movement in different disciplines: art, dance, everyday objects and fashion, as we needed to understand how to translate that into a costume. Our first source of inspiration ended up being a Chinese lantern and how its shape and dimension change when you start playing with it.

    Inspiration and ideas!

    1. Op-art and kinetic art: colours and shapes to create optical illusions.
    2. Fashion: we needed to know what’s already out there.
    3. Contemporary dance: we had to understand the body in movement in order to create a costume for it. As a designer, you think about needs.
    4. Materials: soft, light, flexible and stretchy to allow movement.
    5. Colours: bright, they needed to be seen.

    Once we had enough information we created a prototype and tested it. Is it easy to wear? Is it too heavy? Does it actually change its shape? What isn’t working? We had a long process of testing, implementation, evaluation and redesign.

    Four days before our deadline, things weren’t going that well, we received terrible feedback when showing the prototype, it didn´t look good or interesting and it wasn´t working properly either. We were running out of time and freaking out. We started the project having a great idea, but by the end there was tension and we needed to find a quick solution if we wanted to make it work.

    How do you move on from crisis?
    First we needed to identify the problem. We asked for feedback, we went back to our research. We tested some of the solutions and realised that by changing the materials we would gain more flexibility and reduce the weight. So now we needed to refine the design which meant building it from scratch… Ahhhhh!!!!

    We spent the next three days sewing, making the weirdest dance moves, taking pictures, eating loads of crisps, not getting much sleep and also having fun.

    What we learnt from this experience?
    The design process is not a linear path; it’s all about keeping an open mind, finding ways to improve, being critical and researching. You might need to go back to the beginning sometimes to find a solution but that’s the way it works. Be open to opinions, curiosity and experiment. Talk to your team members, teachers and share your ideas with people that are not involved in the project, so you´ll get a fresh perspective. Ideas and solutions come from the most unexpected places, so keep your eyes open.

    So what happened in the end with our contemporary dance costume? Well… it ended up being published in a fashion and arts magazine and also was featured as part of an exhibition showcasing new products and trends of young designers. We were very proud in the end but it is the memory of that very long weekend when everything ‘clicked’ together, working as part of a team and having fun what we still remember the most.

  • Cheap Materials for Clever Design

    When thinking about good design, sometimes the most simple of materials can lead to innovative, cheap, practical or beautiful solutions.

    Paper is a fantastically versatile material; although it seems everyday, designers have elevated the material by using it in new ways. Even just considering different kinds of paper chair, as in this blog post, you can see the myriad different ways a simple material can be manipulated through clever design practice.

    This environmentally friendly chair by Peter Plantan and Nusa Zupanc uses a sandwiching technique, gluing together thousands of pieces of paper to create a dense structurally stable material almost like plywood. through layering and gluing, flimsy newspaper becomes strong enough to sit on. Check out their design blog to find out more about the design and construction process.

    This pop-up chair “Watching You”, designed by Sekita Design Studio, uses thin sheets organised in a waffle form to give it strength. If you push it from the side it will collapse easily and fold away, but when you exert downwards pressure on it by sitting down it should stay standing.

    Christian Feibig’s Polygonal Paper Chair is based on computer rendering of a Chesterfield chair using only polygonal faces. This chair looks beautiful, but do you think it would break if you sat on it?


    This chair designed by Anton Green uses folded paper in triangle shapes to create a really strong and “sittable” chair just from paper. This is an example of how great design can create a beautiful looking and functional product from a simple and inexpensive material.

  • Flat-Pack Favourites

    The Design Museum shop is a playground for ideas and inspiration

    Design Ventura is asking teams to design, make AND package a product for no more than £5.00. One of my favourite tips I’ve heard a lot of designers mention is to look for existing products that are made with simple materials and simple manufacturing processes.

    Manufacturing through extrusion forming, blow-moulding, vacuum forming or any process that involves specially formed moulds and tooling all seem quite complicated and expensive, not forgetting there’s still the product finishing, refining and packaging to get through.

    So here’s a look at my first round of shop research to inspire your next steps in developing your ideas and things to consider. The images look at products that have one or more of the following qualities:

    Eye-catching and stands out from the crowd
    Make-do products
    Simple materials

    SNUG TRIO decoration:

    Flat-pack, simple materials, beautifully finished, simple packaging and loads of potential for development: the simple, clear and informative packing adds value. It could have even been made into a postable gift like the Postcarden product range.

    Woodland Creatures:

    Flat-pack, single material, simple packing, clear so you can see inside without adding any more to the packing itself.

    Paper Town:

    Everyday corrugated cardboard, printed with bright colours, inviting consumers to create their own miniature towns.

    Snug Magnets:

    Playful magnetic shapes, eye-catching, single material, simple packaging, easy to understand, and interactive.

  • How to attract your target audience through design

    Hopefully by now you’re well on your way to developing and refining your chosen ideas. During my school workshops I saw some really good beginnings of drawn and sketched designs. Here is my advice on how to use design to attract your chose target audience; consider this both from your product and a packaging design perspective.

    My two key areas I will talk about here are ‘colour’ and ‘packaging’. I’ve picked a few examples of projects as reference for you. One thing to note on both of these areas is to keep things simple; the more complicated you make the look of your designs and packaging, the less chance your audience is going to want to pick it up in the Design Museum’s shop and, ultimately, buy it.

    There are many ways to use colour in your designs and packaging, so try out plenty of options.

    Colour can be a tricky area for designers as colours can mean different things to different people and not all colours are effective as when you would expect them to be. For example, pink is a colour traditionally known to appeal to a female audience, but take a look at what cycling brand Rapha have done to utilise pink in their packaging, which mainly attempts to appeal to a male audience. The subtle use of the pink makes the products feel premium and looks well designed; not all use of colour has to be bold.

    On the other hand, a bold single colour on your designs and packaging can help your product stand out against others on the shelf. Take a look at how food brand Makers & Merchants brand and package their products; simply just with the use of a bright red colour which is striking and looks appealing.

    By not over complicating your packaging, your audience will quickly and easily be able to see your product and figure out its function.

    When designing your product’s packaging, think about how much packaging is actually needed. You will have spent lots of time designing and refining the actual look of your product, so perhaps minimal packaging could be used to attract your audience in the Design Museum’s shop.

    A few great examples of this are firstly from Mustang jeans, who actually used their jeans as the outer wrapping when a customer ordered a pair from their online shop.

    Secondly, take a look at the Turbo Flyer toy, a wooden snap-out aeroplane toy which is housed in minimal packaging which reflects the design of the product itself.

    By Industry Expert Paul Jenkins

  • Ask the Expert – developing design and business ideas

    Emilie: Expert Panel, do you have any final tips to share with teachers and students about developing designs and business ideas?

    Emilie: Or any final questions from Catherine from schools?

    Harry T: Only try help your students understand how important enthusiasm is in the pitch. If you think you’re idea is awesome, likelihood is others will.

    Catherine RS: Another question from Fitzwimarc School, for Christoph and Steven. What are the special qualities of past winning products?

    Steven Preston: All of the previous winners took something that was already familiar and gave it a unique twist; it was that creative re-imagining that added value and ultimately made their designs successful. I should also point out that each DV winner so far has been commercially successful in the shop

    Emilie: Yes there are lots of resources to help you on the website

    Chris Garcin: I think the discussion has raised some of the tips I was going to pass on – keep it simple, have the brief, or theme at the centre of an idea, think who goes to the Design Museum shop and what they would buy, explore ideas by sketching, get into rough models to try out ideas, have conviction in your idea and have fun!

    Komal: For those schools unable to visit the museum, we have lots of helpful blog posts from our Industry Experts.

    Catherine RS: That’s a great observation Steven, which I’m sure will be very useful to students. Successful ideas need to be unique, but also have something familiar that attracts customers.

    Christoph Woermann: There is no easy answer for special qualities that make a product pass straight over the finishing line. It is always a mixture of the creativity of the idea, the simplicity of its realisation, the commercial viability, a fun factor in having it, its uniqueness etc.. Never forget though that the presentation in the pitch is a unique chance to make to stand out. In the past we have seen social media campaigns, theatre performances, free prototypes and above all great fun with the pitching teams. This is an important part in the whole process, too. Hope that helps as a pointer.

    Emilie: Great point Christoph thanks, believe in your idea and go for it

    Catherine RS: Thanks Christoph – that’s enormously helpful. The competition is getting harder and harder, so ALL of the top ten ideas are potential winners, and it’s the personal conviction of the students alongside the idea that helps to push it through!

    Catherine RS: That’s it from me! My closing tip is to refer to the original brief and the judging criteria as you refine your idea and get ready to pitch in school.

    Emilie: What a fantastic web chat! Thank you all for joining us this afternoon, and sharing questions and expert advice.

    Emilie: Sadly we have run out of time

    Chris Garcin: Good luck students!

    Paul Jenkins: Thanks everyone, I hope I’ve been of some help! Good luck students!

    Harry T: Thanks for coming everybody. Best of luck with the rest of the competition. Maybe meet some of you at the celebration in the Spring.

    Christoph Woermann: To all the teams that participate in this year’s challenge: To take part already makes you a winner because you will learn a great deal about teamwork, meeting deadlines, operating a small business and realising that everything you really want will also happen. Good luck, you can all make it to the final round and remember, the design museum and the designers get always inspiration from you all.

    Emilie: our final chat will take place on Thursday 6 November 2014 at 3.30pm, on Chatzy, where we will share advice on: FINALISING IDEAS, PRESENTING AND SUBMITTING ENTRIES

    Emilie: Until then best of luck to all the students and teachers taking part, and thank you again to our Industry Experts for joining us and don’t forget submission date is 12 November 2014! Good luck again!

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