Posted : 29 September 2020

Design graduates from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Naomi Cairns and Naomi McIntosh, have won top prizes during Part 1 and 2 of the 2020 New Designers Awards. 

 Product Design graduate, Naomi Cairns has been awarded the Colour in Design Award for her project ‘Affinity’, which uses colour to combat loneliness. Interior Environmental Design graduate, Naomi McIntosh, has won the Creative Conscience and the Business Design Centre for Social Impact Design Award. 

 New Designers exhibits the work of over 3,000 graduates from around the UK. Part 1 focuses on the disciplines of textiles and fashion, costume design, jewellery and precious metal work, ceramics and glass and contemporary design crafts.  

 Part 2 focuses on furniture, product and industrial design, spatial design and interiors, graphic design, illustration and animation and motion and digital arts. 

The prestigious event, which is normally held in London over two weeks, went digital this year to celebrate the Class of 2020 and their tremendous efforts adapting their design process and facing unprecedented challenges.  

 Product Design graduate, Naomi Cairns has been awarded the Colour in Design Award with her project ‘Affinity’ which uses colour to combat loneliness. The product to allows people to send their thoughts and feelings through coloured light sequences which remind the recipient that friends are thinking of them.  

 In a world where we are more isolated from each other than ever, Naomi created a small but significant solution to missing contact with the ones we love.   

 “I am deeply interested in designing products and services to help improve mental health, feelings of loneliness and connection,” said Naomi Cairns. 

 My project 'Affinity' uses coloured light to let people connect without the need for words. I began developing this idea before Covid-19, so it was important to me how I could adapt my project to help people connect when we are more isolated than we were before.  

 “I'm looking forward to getting mentored by industry experts to help my development get advice for future career opportunities. Winning has given me more confidence to step out my comfort zone and seek more design opportunities.” 

 Naomi McIntosh was this year’s recipient of the Social Impact Award for her project, ‘The Lade’. Naomi created a family-centred community hub designed to help tackle the issue of child poverty. Making use of an abandoned jute mill, it is powered using sustainable technologies and provides support, learning opportunities and life skills to youngsters facing disadvantages. 

 “Being a mother and the personal challenges I have faced inspired me to design something that would help families. I had researched Dundee's child poverty crisis for my dissertation the previous semester which involved speaking with families and third sector organisations in the city.  

 “A few themes arose during my study including extortionate childcare rates locking parents out of employment, children growing up without life skills and access to outdoor play, and families living in isolation without a support network. This motivated me to design a community hub that would address these issues for my thesis project.” 

 Naomi Cairns will be going on to complete an MSc in Product Design at DJCAD with plans to develop her project further. Since graduating Naomi McIntosh is continuing to design for social good through her freelance design work