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Future retail design talent: Retail Expo Student Design Awards 2020

Despite the 2020 Retail Expo being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student Design Awards went ahead as planned. Judging was able to take place in April via video link, chaired by design writer and consultant Lynda Relph-Knight, who has coordinated the Student Design Awards since their inception in 2015.

So we are absolutely delighted to report that Huddersfield University students (mentored by Innovare Design’s Creative Director, Lloyd Blakey) were among the first set of winners announced at this year’s ‘virtual’ RetailEXPO Student Design Awards.

Tackling a ‘wide-open’ brief set by outdoor wear brand Berghaus, the students were tasked with designing a concept store to suit any size or format.

The Huddersfield students embraced the challenge and came up with some amazing ideas, from urban trails and in-store equipment testing, to upcycling workshops and charity collaborations, with associated apps and opportunities for customers to join both physical and online social groups.

“With Lloyd’s dedication and expert guidance, our students developed their ideas into well-resolved concept design proposals. The short-listed students worked hard to come up with solutions that could be adapted to suit different contexts (flagship, high-street and pop-up stores) and to incorporate strong links between physical and digital retail experiences while engaging customers in social ways to promote a sense of community.” Helen Darnell, Lecturer Interior Design, University of Huddersfield

“It’s such a shame that due to the lockdown the winners were unable to visit the Retail Expo this year to receive their awards and meet the judges in person. I’ve been involved with these Awards for many years and enjoy the process of mentoring the next generation of designers. It’s not only rewarding for me, it gives the students a unique opportunity to connect with a professional agency mentor and to be exposed to a real commercial brief from a major retail brand.” Lloyd Blakey, Founder & Creative Director, Innovare Design

In the light of the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we hope these talented young designers get to complete their studies without too much stress and hardship. And of course, we wish them all the very best for their future retail design careers.

Joint Winner: Natasha Henderson, University of Huddersfield

Concept: The Camp Fire – you can see Natasha’s full retail design concept here

Special mention: Krystian Pycinski, University of Huddersfield

Concept: Four Seasons – you can see Krystian’s full retail design concept here


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