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A Leicester student has won a national design award after designing an environmentally-friendly football game, out of a cardboard beer container.

Matt Evan’s design for a cardboard beer container that folded out into a football pitch caught the judges’ eye in the 2022 Starpack Awards, which recognise the best work from final-year students in answer to briefs set by top companies.

They praised the product’s “great commercial potential.”

Students were asked to use packaging in an environmentally-friendly way to reconnect people after the pandemic. They were prompted to reflect on what they had missed most during the pandemic – which in Matt’s case, was playing and watching football with friends.

Matt, who has just finished his final year studying Graphic Design at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), explained how his design worked. He said: “I created a cardboard holder for a four-pack of beer that folds out into a Subbuteo-style flick football game.

Picture: Matt Evans

“The ball was the bottle cap, and the fold-out pitch had T-shirts that you could pop up to stand, that acted as defenders you had to flick the ball past, and the handles of the holder became the goal posts. All the packaging had to be used, so it was quite a long process to develop it, it was a lot of trial and error.”

Matt and the other shortlisted students were invited to London for the finals, held on a boat on the River Thames. “We all got dressed up and it was really nice,” he said. “All of us who were there had put in a lot of hard work and effort and the organisers had not been able to put on the awards in person for two years because of Covid, so they went all out. It was great.”

Picture: DMU

Judges said Matt’s design was, “A pack using carton board responsibly, demonstrating a good understanding of print and great commercial potential.”

First established in 1964, the Starpack Students Competition is an annual event run by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). It recognises the rising stars of the packaging industry and invites students across the country to showcase ideas and develop creative solutions to packaging problems. Briefs are set by brand leading FMCG companies, design agencies and manufacturers.

Matt praised the course for its emphasis on giving students live briefs set by industry, with companies regularly coming in to speak to students about their work and what brands are looking for in good design.

He added: “The great thing about the course is all the industry prep we have a lot of live briefs and get competition experience which prepares you for work in industry. This year it’s just been so nice to be back in the studios.”

Matt’s work has been seen by hundreds of visitors to this year’s Degree Show on campus, as he helped come up with the Better Together branding to be bright, colourful and warm to represent the students coming back together after lockdown.

He is set to graduate in August and has already landed a job with Leicester design agency Some Bright Spark after getting in touch with them for his final project. “It just could not have worked out any better,” he said. “They are an incredible agency and I’m so happy to be working there.”

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