Remote control toy wins praise for University of Sussex student

Student Matthew Tuck with Adam Vincent-Garland, senior interactive and product development executive at Aardman
Student Matthew Tuck with Adam Vincent-Garland, senior interactive and product development executive at Aardman

Student Matthew Tuck, from Worthing, received awards in a toy design pitch to an executive from Aardman studios.

Product design students from the University of Sussex pitched toy concepts to Adam Vincent-Garland, senior interactive and product development executive at Aardman, to coincide with the release of the new Shaun the Sheep film.

Matthew, 21, was awarded best prototype and best overall design for his game Tractor Footy, which has remote controlled tractors play football with.

He said: “It was a really good experience to have my work reviewed by Aardman, to have feedback from Adam, who is someone who is really respected in the industry, is invaluable.

“When I started the product design course, I was more interested in the engineering side than the creative side but the course has given me the tools and freedom to become a better designer. This has made me rethink my career path and my options.

“That is what every product designer wants, to see something they have designed on sale in shops. That would be the dream and so that’s why you put a lot of effort into your design to try and make that happen.”

Students were asked to thoroughly research the global toy market as well as manufacturing techniques and produce a high quality prototype of the toy that had been thoroughly user tested.

The product design students spent 12 weeks honing their designs as part of the toy and game design module which forms part of the degree.

Aardman now have the option to incorporate their favourite of the 28 student designs into the Shaun the Sheep product line.

Adam Vincent-Garland said: “The students did a great job and presented their ideas professionally with a good understanding of the brand and marketplace. It was brilliant to see so many interesting ideas with heaps of potential.”

Diane Simpson-Little, head of the product design degree at the University of Sussex, established the link with Aardman through a key contact in the toy industry, Billy Langsworthy, who runs a company called Mojo Nation, which operates as a body for toy and board game designers to celebrate the industry’s achievements and support up-and-coming creators.

Diane said: “This has been an absolutely fantastic experience for all students involved and the possibility that their design could become a toy for children around the world really is about as good as it gets for any product designer whatever their level of experience.”