Appalachian students place second in international competition


The Appalachian Online

Tommy Culkin

Two students placed second in an international industrial design competition earlier this year.

Last year, as part of their intro to design studio class, Garrett Peebles and Elizabeth Foster were assigned to submit an entry into an industrial design competition held by the company Nimble Bee.

The objective was to improve the packaging design for a beverage company.

“We chose Budweiser because it’s just a standard drink that everyone’s familiar with,” Foster said.

At the beginning of the project, Peebles and Foster sent out online surveys to determine what people identified as the biggest design problems with the packaging.

Through their research, the duo was able to determine what aspects to work on.

“One of the major things we did with six-packs was improve the handle to make it easier to carry,” Foster said. “We also made it easier to get the bottles out.”

Because their design is now copyrighted by Anheuser-Busch, they are forbidden from discussing the specific details of their design.

They submitted their design to the competition in early December and were notified that they were a finalist a few weeks later.

Michael Rall, the assistant professor of the class they submitted the design for, said he was not surprised that they were finalists.

“When I saw their submission I knew it had the potential [to be a finalist],” Rall said. “Whenever you enter this type of competition, it’s always up in the air because you’re never quite sure what the judges want to focus on, but I definitely knew it was good enough.”

After being named a finalist, the pair was able to work on their design with Rall before resubmitting it.

“We really just worked to refine it,” Rall said. “Working towards that final deliverable product, I think that they pinpointed a couple specifics that were the most important and tried to emphasize those.”

During the refining process they also created to-scale prototypes to validate their design concepts.

In March, Peebles and Foster found out they placed second overall in the international competition.

“It felt really great that all our hard work had paid off,” Peebles said. “We worked on it for so long.”

Foster said the experience also taught them some skills that will be applicable in the workplace.

“I learned that working as a team really helps with the ideation process of things,” Foster said. “There were times where one of us would have an idea, and the other one would argue against it and come up with something better.”

Rall believes their achievement will have a big impact on their careers after they graduate.
“This is incredibly important for them,” Rall said. “There are more people graduating with industrial design degrees now than ever before, and as a winner of a big competition like this, it allows you to have an extra bullet point on your resume, and validates all of your hard work.”

Story by Tommy Culkin, Senior News Reporter