Sussex students win toy design competition for third year running

Eight Sussex University students won the Mojo Nation Student Design Challenge with their family fishing game.
Eight Sussex University students won the Mojo Nation Student Design Challenge with their family fishing game.

A group of eight Sussex University students impressed industry experts with designs for a new family game, winning a national toy design competition.

The product design students were among 150 students from UK universities taking part in the Mojo Nation Student Design Challenge.

It is the third year in a row that University of Sussex students, based at Falmer, have won the competition.

Student Gabriel Robson, said the team developed the idea for the new game - ‘Reel Danger’ - in just 90 minutes after taking inspiration from a team member’s fishing hat.

They then fashioned a prototype using only materials from the cafe at London Design Museum, where the event was held.

Gabriel said that the group’s course helped them in the competition as they are taught to generate ideas quickly, be resourceful, and efficient.

“For the competition, we had a brief to complete in 90 minutes with no budget or materials, meaning we had to have a great idea and be resourceful,” he said.

“It was great to hear feedback from industry experts as they all understood the process we went though and were very impressed with what we completed in such as short amount of time.”

Senior teaching fellow in product design at Sussex, Diane Simpson-Little, said that winning the awards was ‘the icing on the cake’ for the students who enjoyed their time at the event.

“I was extremely impressed with the way the students worked as a team and quickly put into practice their design thinking skills,” she said.

“In such a short space of time, not only did they come up with really strong product ideas, but they also created a genuinely unique proposition for their brands.

“Overall the whole day was a fantastic experience for the students, with inspirational presentations and a chance to be mentored by professional toy designers.”

The first and second-year students have been invited to next year’s event in September 2020 to pitch their design - a fishing roulette game where the loser is sprayed with water - to investors.

“They very much liked our product and said it would be a viable game.” Gabriel said.

Billy Langsworthy, co-founder of Mojo Nation, said: “A huge congratulations to the University of Sussex for scooping the game award.

“It’s the third time in a row that a team from Sussex has emerged victorious in one of our design challenges, so Diane is clearly doing something very right.

“We’re also delighted that the idea was genuinely met with such enthusiasm by our professional designers – hopefully the team will be back at one of our events, pitching the idea to toy companies soon.”