Taking on everyday sexism and 'how to be more pirate', these three 60-second animated films were created by outstanding new illustration and design talent.
The RSA’s Student Design Awards is one of the longest-running design awards in the world – and one of the most prestigious for those just about to graduate. Now in it’s 95th year, previous winners have included Apple’s Sir Jony Ive and the designer of the first ever laptop, Bill Moggridge.
The awards are split into a series of categories covering the broadest range of what design can be – from product to environmental design. The two most relevant to Digital Arts readers are the animation categories, both of which involved students producing animations based on 60-second clips of audio recorded by the Royal Society.
The first – Moving Pictures – involved audio taken from talks given at the RSA. I was one of the judges in this category, alongside Andrew Park (founder of Cognitive Media, the animation company behind the RSA Animates series), filmmaker Paul Wyatt, Susie Hewson from category sponsor Natracare and the RSA’s Mairi Ryan.
Entrants could pick from one of two audio clips: Everyday Sexism author and founder Laura Bates describing just how pervasive misogyny is, or Sam Conniff Allende enthusing about how young people are taking control of their own lives and the world around them – which he describes as being “more pirate”.
We whittled down almost 100 entries from institutions as far afield as Limerick School of Art & Design, Edinburgh College of Art and Arts University Bournemouth to a shortlist of seven. From here we selected three winners, which you can see below. The full shortlist can be seen on the RSA YouTube page.
Leanne Dooley: Limerick School of Art & Design
Illustrator and animator Leanne picked up the Natracare award, which comes with a prize of £1,000 – as well as being picked by RSA staff for an additional award of £500.
It’s a film all of us judges could agree was an outright winner. Leanne's use of colour, texture and form is accomplished – and the film makes great use of visual metaphor without just representing the words directly.
Leanne's style also translates well into illustration, and you can see more of her static and animated work on her website.
Arthur Kearns: Birmingham City University
Arthur's film is full of energy and character. Although fully engaging with the darker parts of the audio, its roughly rendered world where colours bleed outside the lines feels alive and really human.
Julen Goni: Edinburgh College of Art
Julen has a brilliant grasp of how to portray emotion and character using only a few lines. The pacing – building to a really effective climax – is also wonderfully done.
The funny, touching film created by Emma McKell from Arts University Bournemouth that won the Living and Dying Well category prize can be watched below.
Away from animation, prizes also went to students who had created projects including a bowl to help people with ADHD eat more easily...
... a design language for people with hidden disabilities to communicate that they have them to the world, based around the simple asterisk ...
... a simple way to turn leftovers into stock ...
... an app to help autistic people use public transport more easily ...
... a workshop kit to turn commuter stations into art studios ...
... and a tilting mixing bowl to make baking easier for people with low dexterity, including children and those with disabilities.