Skip to content
The Northumbria University stand at this year's New Designers exhibition
The Northumbria University stand at this year's New Designers exhibition

Press release -

Northumbria students have designs on success

The work of talented design students from Northumbria University, Newcastle has attracted the attention of industry experts during one of UK’s most important exhibitions.

Students from Northumbria’s Design for Industry and 3D Design BA (Hons) programmes won or were shortlisted in 10 award categories at the prestigious New Designers event in London.

The annual exhibition offers students the opportunity to showcase their skills and creativity and meet industry experts in an environment aimed at celebrating upcoming creative talent.

Among the Northumbria winners was Design for Industry student Daniel Becconsall, winner of the John Lewis Award for Design and Innovation. His ‘Timbre Toys’ concept for interactive wooden toys impressed the judges, who described it as ‘a unique idea with a lot of heart that encourages creativity’.

As well as scooping a £1,000 prize to support the development of his design, Daniel will also be given the opportunity to visit the John Lewis design team to discuss his product and design ambitions.

Speaking about his success Daniel said: “It's a huge honour to have won an award, especially one from such a prestigious company as John Lewis, I am very excited to see where this new opportunity takes myself and my work. I am also very aware of, and extremely grateful for, the help and input that I have received throughout my work at Northumbria, from my peers, technicians and tutors.”

The second and third place prizes in the category were also won by Northumbria students, going to Will de Bret and Suraj Soren respectively.

There was also recognition for Blair Mcintosh, who was named winner of the Joseph Joseph Brilliantly Useful Award for his product ‘Hygiene Home’ – a floor-cleaning device that combines a vacuum with an air purifier.

The judges said his concept ‘challenges the archetype of home floor care, creating a clever dual function product that is minimal in design and sympathetic to its environment’.

Blair will now carry out a six-week paid internship at Joseph Joseph’s Head Office in Southwark, gaining valuable industry experience.

Fellow Design for Industry student Jenny Docherty also received an Honourable Mention in the same award category.

Rose Wong, Programme Leader for Design for Industry at Northumbria, said: “We are very proud of all our talented students and what they have achieved – this is the highest number of awards for Northumbria students at the New Designers exhibition to date and they have all worked incredibly hard. Very well done to them all and we wish them every success in their future careers.”

There were also a number of awards for Northumbria’s 3D Design students, with Madeleine Gill named winner of the Sainsbury’s Home & Argos Home Award. Speaking about her work the judges said ‘Madeleine is a talented furniture designer, tabletop designer and certainly a forward thinker who Argos believes will help design products for our future generation and how people will live in the future.’

Madeleine will now receive mentoring from the Sainsbury's Argos Design Studio and £500 to help with her project. She said: “‘I am absolutely delighted to have won the Sainsbury’s Home and Argos Home award. As two leading high street brands, Sainsbury’s and Argos have been at the forefront of design for generations, providing consumers with a range of successful products. Therefore, to be recognised for this award is an honour.

“From meeting the judges and hearing their lovely comments, it has given me the confidence to pursue a career in design and I can’t wait to get started. The mentoring day is such a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the industry and I’m eager to get a further understanding of how an idea can become a marketable consumer product.

“The 3D design course at Northumbria University, with the access to materials and equipment, as well as its hands on approach to design has significantly helped to educate and improve my skills as a designer and I feel prepared to progress into the industry. I have to thank the tutors and technical staff at Northumbria for their continuing guidance and support, as well as my fellow course mates and Northumbria in general for making the university experience so enjoyable.”

There was success too for Mac Collins who won the Belmond Award for his unique chair design, entitled Iklwa. The award was judged by Joe Ferry, Art and Creative Director, for luxury hotel and travel company Belmond. He said: “Informed by the ideals of Afrocentrism and the aesthetics of Afrofuturism, Iklwa is a throne to inspire empowerment in the face of oppression. An incredibly talented designer whose products embodies the authentic and timeless, luxuries and soulful nature of Belmond.”

As part of his prize, Mac has been commissioned to design a product for one of Belmond’s properties. He will also be given a £1,000 bursary towards expenses and have the opportunity to learn from Belmond’s in-house bench of design experts.

Speaking about his win, Mac said: “I am chuffed to have won the New Designers Belmond Award 2018. It has set my career into motion, giving me the opportunity to work so closely with a reputable company, straight out of University. I am definitely grateful for my time at Northumbria University and in Newcastle as a city. The design program at Northumbria has encouraged me to pursue ambitious designs and has provided me with the facilities and teaching to do so. The course is run to inspire ‘learning through making’ and as a result of this I have graduated with a wide understanding of workshop processes and a range of design skills which will fuel my future.”

Rickard Whittingham, Programme Leader for 3D Design at Northumbria, said: “It is great to see our students’ talent and hard work recognised by prestigious design-led companies with awards at New Designers. Our participation at New Designers once again provided opportunities for all the students to showcase their projects and portfolios to an informed audience of employers and buyers of contemporary design. We wish them all well for the next steps.”

There were also a number of Honourable Mentions and shortlisting’s for students across both programmes:

  • Joseph Stannah Award: Chris Casey
  • Made Talent Lab Award: Dan Robbins, Ashley Willard and Owen Bennett
  • Pentland Brands Ltd Award: Benjamin Ackerley and Asher Dixon Blair
  • W’innovate and Wilko award: Blair Mcintosh and Dan Becconsall
  • Lego Award for Playful Creativity: Dan Becconsall
  • Hallmark Award: Dan Becconsall
  • Virgin Atlantic Award: Murray Campbell

Find out more about Design for Industry and 3D Design courses at Northumbria.

Northumbria University at New Designers 2018 from Northumbria University on Vimeo.



Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go to

If you have a media enquiry please contact our Media and Communications team at or call 0191 227 4604.


Rik Kendall

Rik Kendall

Press contact PR and Media Manager Business and Law / Arts, Design & Social Sciences 07923 382339
Andrea Slowey

Andrea Slowey

Press contact PR and Media Manager Engineering and Environment / Health and Life Sciences 07708 509436
James Fox

James Fox

Press contact Student Communications Manager
Kelly Elliott

Kelly Elliott

Press contact PR and Media Officer
Rachael Barwick

Rachael Barwick

Press contact PR and Media Manager 07377422415
Ruth Lognonne

Ruth Lognonne

Press contact PR and Media Officer 07971274253
Gemma Brown

Gemma Brown

Press contact PR and Media Officer

Related content


Northumbria University is a research-intensive university that unlocks potential for all, changing lives regionally, nationally and internationally.

Northumbria University, Newcastle
Northumbria University, Newcastle
NE1 8ST Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom