What really makes a great designer?

Wednesday 29 May 2013


Singapore – The hunt began on 22 November 2012, 42 students from the Diploma in Product Design and Innovation course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic were given a brief from British Council (Singapore) to design the British Council school bag. The bag had to encompass elements from the UK, and through the quality of the designs, demonstrate British Council’s position as a market leader in teaching English. These bags will be given as part of a free stationery package to all British Council students from the ages of four to fifteen.

As part of their EUCD (Ergonomic and User-Centred Design) projects, the polytechnic students had to put their skills to the test and produce a new school bag that young kids would like and at the same time meet their needs for their study at the British Council’s English language centres.

Finally, at the end of an intensive two months, 42 proposals were submitted and judged. It was an immensely difficult judging process because of the explosion of brilliant ideas that were presented. Six proposals were eventually picked out for their refreshing designs, thoughtful layouts and suitability for students in Singapore.

The 6 shortlisted bags were then put to vote. Voting occurred through two ways: British Council teachers conducted a poll in class and a public poll was conducted on British Council’s Facebook, to a 32,000-strong fan base.

The British Council will award prizes to Caryn Chng, Lin Dapeng, and Lai Hong Yun for coming in first, second and third places respectively for their exceptional work. 

Our top winner, Caryn, has shown outstanding potential despite being only 19 this year. She stood out from the rest of her classmates for her innovative incorporation of the globally-recognised Union Jack symbol and the appropriateness of her design for the target market.

A pocket for holding water bottles was sewn onto the right side of the backpack so that the student could easily grab hold of the bottle whenever a drink was needed.

A pocket on the left was just the right size to hold pencil cases

Compartments were built into three sections on the front and zips hidden behind the red and white stripes, to deter pickpockets.

Cushioned straps support the heavy weight of school books for comfort.

These impressive concepts demonstrated clearly without a doubt, that there are indeed qualities that separate a great designer from the good ones. Having a detailed understanding of how your end-consumer interacts with your product matters. Knowing how to make a design eye-catching is essential. Being able to interpret a brief as well as research information accurately is definitely vital.

Notes to Editor

A collaboration between the British Council Singapore and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

For media enquiries, please contact:

British Council (Singapore) Limited
D: +65 6470 7168

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people.

In Singapore, the work of the British Council includes teaching English to adults and young learners; teacher and corporate training; IELTS and other Exams; providing the latest information about studying in the UK; promoting British education and training; and demonstrating the innovation, creativity and excellence of British arts, literature and design. We are a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.sg